Practice Enhancement for Exclusive Breastfeeding (PEEB)

Breastmilk makes the world healthier, smarter, and more equal as reported by The Lancet Series on
breastfeeding in 2016. There is substantial scientific international evidence that demonstrates the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for infants, in the short, medium and long term. Such benefits include fewer infections ,increased intelligence, probable protection against overweight and diabetes, and cancer prevention for mothers. Considered an omnipresent public health issue, breastfeeding also has the potential to bring about economic and environmental advantages.

Breastfeeding rates in Ireland are amongst the lowest in Europe and incongruous with the high level of
population education and economic prosperity that exists. Cultural attitudes to breastfeeding are compounded and influenced by an economy which relies on agricultural prosperity, and consequently is the biggest manufacturer of infant formula worldwide. The determinants of breastfeeding are complex and multidimensional. However there are consistent beneficial modifiable factors which include: support from healthcare professionals; family and the wider community; evidence-based knowledge from competent confident staff; and supportive healthcare environments.

The aim of this partnership project is to enhance the implementation of evidence-based practice for Exclusive Breastfeeding throughout the pregnant woman’s journey until 3 months postpartum. To achieve a service where women who choose to exclusively breastfeed feel supported, a multi-pronged approach is needed. To ensure sustainability, such an approach will involve identification of current practice; training of professionals and allied health carers; facilitation of the transition to enhanced practices; and the modification of health care environments in line with evidence. A robust analysis will be carried out to determine the outcome of the PEEB; inform policy and transform healthcare practices to meet the needs of families who choose to exclusively breastfeed in Ireland.

Award Date
27 March 2020
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Patricia Leahy-Warren
Host Institution
University College Cork
APA Cycle 2 2019