Missoula County Breastfeeding Outreach Project


Impact Statement: 
The number of breastfeeding women who have access to a certified lactation counselor soared when Missoula City-County Health Department staff used QI to improve their internal processes.

The Missoula City-County Health Department MCH initiated a QI project with the goal of improving support to breastfeeding mothers in the community. Historically, the MCH team received hospital referrals of recently discharged women and their newborns twice per week. The team called first-time mothers who were breastfeeding. Women had often already given up on breastfeeding by the time they received the outreach call. Because support in the first 3 days after delivery has been demonstrated to have a positive effect on continued breastfeeding, the team wanted all Missoula County first-time breastfeeding women to have access to a CLC from the Public Health Home Visiting program within 3 days of delivery. The team later amended this to include all new mothers, because staff learned that second- and third-time mothers needed breastfeeding support as well. At the outset of the project, the team had a dedicated breastfeeding hotline, but breastfeeding women rarely if ever used it.

To achieve the goal, the team needed to address program inefficiencies, so staff reached more women within the 3-day time frame. Process improvements were identified to address barriers. The team improved coordination between its members and the hospital; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and other breastfeeding partners in the community.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
Missoula City-County Health Department

VanDomelen, A. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Missoula County Breastfeeding Outreach Project. Thu, 11/16/2017 - 13:49. Available at https://www.phqix.org/content/missoula-county-breastfeeding-outreach-project. Accessed June 21, 2024.

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