Effect of novel breastfeeding smartphone applications on breastfeeding rates

Laurie B. Griffin, Julia D. López, Megan L. Ranney, George A. Macones, Alison G. Cahill, Adam K. Lewkowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Low-income women are less likely to breastfeed than high-income women. Technology-based interventions demonstrate promise in decreasing health disparities. We assessed whether increased use of breastfeeding smartphone applications (apps) impacts breastfeeding rates for low-income women. Materials and Methods: This is a secondary analysis of a randomized control trial (RCT), including nulliparous, low-income women. Women were randomized to one of two novel apps: control app containing digital breastfeeding handouts and BreastFeeding Friend (BFF), an interactive app containing on-demand breastfeeding educational and video content. App usage was securely tracked. The highest quartile of BFF and control app users were combined and compared to the lowest quartile of app users. The primary outcome was breastfeeding initiation. Secondary outcomes included breastfeeding outcomes and resource preferences through 6 months. Results: In the RCT, BFF and control app median uses were 15 (interquartile range [IQR] 4–24) and 9 (IQR 5–19) (p = 0.1), respectively. Breastfeeding initiation did not differ with app usage (84.1% in highest quartile versus 78.2% for lowest quartile; p = 0.5). Rates of sustained and exclusive breastfeeding through 6 months were similar between groups. Among both groups, smartphone apps were the most preferred breastfeeding resource at 6 weeks. Low quartile users also preferred alternative online breastfeeding resources: >50% of all users preferred technology-based breastfeeding resources. Conclusions: Increased usage of breastfeeding apps did not improve breastfeeding rates among low-income women. However, technology-based resources were the most preferred breastfeeding resource after hospital discharge, indicating ongoing development of technology-based interventions has potential to increase breastfeeding in this high-needs population. clinicaltrials.gov (NCT03167073).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-623
Number of pages10
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Volume16
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Breastfeeding
  • Exclusive breastfeeding
  • Health equity
  • Postnatal breastfeeding support or education
  • Postpartum care
  • Smartphone applications

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