Increasing breastfeeding knowledge for underserved women

As a young girl, Rosalind Pittman, MSN, RNC-OB, CLC, ANLC  remembers paging through Sears’ and J.C.Penney’s catalogues fawning over cherub-cheeked babies.

“I could not resist those cute babies,” she says.

And anytime she went to visit an elderly family member or friend in the hospital, Pittman never failed to detour to the nursery.

Pittman has since dedicated her career to maternal child health, spending nearly two decades working as a labor and delivery nurse.

She became a Certified Lactation Counselor in July 2017.

“I am so glad I did because it was five days of actual training and learning and hands on experiences,” she explains. “I unlearned a whole lot of information.”

At the upcoming International Breastfeeding Conference in Deerfield Beach, Fla., Pittman will present Increasing the Breastfeeding Knowledge for Underserved Women: Providing Equitable Access to All.

Pittman and colleagues’ work seeks to evaluate if breastfeeding materials and resources are written at a readability level that everyone can understand, including those who have not completed high school. They assess various materials to determine their readability using the Flesch–Kincaid readability system.

Pittman and colleagues are currently analyzing data, but she says they can conclude that breastfeeding documents “must be explicit in their directions with step by step pictures for those who find [the documents] too technical in their writing.”

Similarly, Meg Wilson’s, PhD, RN Readability and patient education materials used for low-income populations found that patient education materials (PEM) were written at a level too high for the average adult.

Wilson writes that “All PEMs should be analyzed carefully to ensure that they are at the recommended fifth grade level. Further understanding of available measures of readability is critical in the creation and/or assessment of PEMs that will strengthen services from safety net providers and support positive health outcomes.”

For women living in vulnerable communities, appropriate postpartum breastfeeding support can be hard to come by in general. Sometimes mothers cannot afford a breastfeeding consult with a lactation care provider and sometimes face-to-face counseling is not accessible, Pittman explains.

She goes on, “People often make the mistake that everyone is getting the same level of healthcare.”

In fact, “many people think that underserved women are getting Medicaid, but they may not be getting quality care,” she explains.

Pittman says achieving health equity starts with listening to mothers and their babies.

Connect with Pittman at the upcoming conference by registering here.

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