11:18am Tuesday 22 October 2019

Breastfeeding sucks! SMS study provides support

The trial led by Dr Danielle Gallegos, from QUT’s School of Public Health, and Associate Professor Rebekah Russell-Bennett, from the School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations, is the first of its kind to use SMS to provide support for breastfeeding mums.

Dr Gallegos said the SMS service was aimed at increasing breastfeeding rates among new mums.

“The text messages would work by providing a direct link with breastfeeding women and offer support, encouragement and advice when needed,” Dr Gallegos said.

“For example if a mum responds to a text message indicating she is struggling with breastfeeding, she would be sent an encouraging response along with hints on how to get through the difficult times.

“She will also be able to access two phone hotlines that are specifically aimed at helping women cope with breastfeeding.”

Dr Gallegos said a preliminary study by QUT of mums across Brisbane had revealed women found breastfeeding difficult in the first few months and would be receptive to receiving text messages about breastfeeding especially if these were linked to a resource where they could access further information.

“Overall the study found the response to a SMS social marketing campaign was positive,” she said.

But Dr Gallegos said any SMS campaign would need to be considerate of women’s feelings.

“Messages would need to indicate how hard breastfeeding is and that it can hurt,” she said.

“The messages can’t be judgemental, meaning they need to avoid guilt, stereotyping and acting as if it was easy and natural.”

Dr Gallegos said while women were increasingly realistic about the challenges of motherhood, text messages needed to validate these challenges rather than ignore or gloss over them.

The preliminary study also found new young mums in particular, used their mobile phone as an essential link to peers, family and friends.

“This group thought text messages would be an ideal way to send messages about breastfeeding because they send and receive text messages throughout the day,” she said.

Dr Gallegos said younger mums showed a greater preference for receiving text messages of support for breastfeeding from “experts” and given that this younger group tended not to breastfeed or support breastfeeding, this campaign had the potential to increase breastfeeding rates.

She said supporting mums to breastfeed was vital given a recent QUT study found more than 75 per cent of Gen Ys (aged 18-29) were unlikely to exclusively breastfeed their children until six months – as recommended as ideal by the World Health Organisation.

To be involved in the study, which will offer breastfeeding support via SMS messages, women need have an infant under the age of three months who is currently breastfeeding.

For details visit www.mumbubconnect.com.au

Media contacts
– Sandra Hutchinson, QUT media officer, 07 3138 2999 or s3.hutchinson@qut.edu.au
– Rachael Wilson, QUT media officer, 07 3138 1150 or rachael.wilson@qut.edu.au
**A high resolution photo is available for media use

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