Breastfeeding was significantly increased by a mobile phone application that provided supportive texts and an online community to new moms, according to a new pilot study from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
[Photo: Dr. Sheana Bull]
Lead investigator Dr. Maya Bunik, associate professor of pediatrics at the CU School of Medicine, developed the app with colleagues in the mHealth Impact Laboratory at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) at CU Anschutz. The mHealth Impact Lab is led by Dr. Sheana Bull, professor and chair of community and behavioral health at ColoradoSPH.
The app aimed to remind and encourage mothers to take advantage of the many health benefits of breastfeeding and offering human milk to babies as their first food. The logic behind the study was that women of child-bearing age are in the generation most likely to not only own a cell phone, but to use texting as a major communication source.
About a quarter of the text messages asked for a response from participants, querying them about normal stooling patterns in babies in the first 4 to 7 days of life, or whether they knew that babies fed exclusively with breast milk in their first months of life have lower rates of obesity later. The app also linked participants to a private Facebook page where informative links, supportive comments and brief videos were posted.
A larger trial is being planned.
Full story, here.