Coventry University | B-Skills

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Working at Coventry University

Coventry University is a diverse and exciting place to work and we share the enthusiasm of our staff and students to be the best at whatever they choose to do. As one of the City’s biggest employers, we offer some impressive benefits for our staff and are committed to delivering the very best opportunities. We have a comprehensive training, personal and professional development programme that provides our employees with the skills to enhance their performance in the workplace and grow in their careers. There are pension schemes, a generous holiday allowance and flexible working opportunities as well as lifestyle benefits including childcare vouchers, discounted membership to the £4 million sports and recreation centre and schemes such as Cycle to Work and the CU Car Share initiative.

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Project Team

Project Objectives

There is a sharp decline in breastfeeding rates in the early weeks post birth (McAndrew et al., 2013). Data from the infant feeding survey indicates that many mothers wish to continue breastfeeding but stop due to problems such as insufficient milk or pain associated with breastfeeding. Clinicians suggest that many of these problems could be resolved with support for two key skills: positioning and attachment and hand expression (Unicef UK, 2012).

We have developed an intervention to help mothers address these common problems and support mothers to master the key skills. The aim of the intervention was to enable mothers who wished to breastfeed to increase their confidence and ability to continue even if they encountered problems. To provide a potentially low-cost, high reach intervention that was accessible 24/7, the intervention has been developed in the form of a smartphone application. The first version of the app has been tested by a small sample of parents and health professionals. The feedback from these early studies has informed revisions to the app (B Skills V2). The objectives of this research project are to test the acceptability and user satisfaction of the B Skills V2 to breastfeeding mothers and their partners in Coventry, and to explore the potential of the app to increase breastfeeding rates in Coventry.

Impact Statement

The ultimate aim of this intervention is to empower mothers to breastfeed for as long as they wish. An associated increase in breastfeeding duration would result in reduced incidence of maternal and infant disease.  Furthermore, enabling mothers to meet their personal breastfeeding goals may reduce their risk of postnatal depression. Within this project the app will be offered to all eligible mothers in Coventry and we will be investigating whether use of the app can be associated with any improvement in breastfeeding rates at 6-8 weeks postnatal.

This project will test the acceptability of the app on two smartphone platforms (android and apple) which increases the potential reach of the intervention (it was previously only available for apple devices). The outcomes of this project will help to inform future funding applications to test the clinical and cost-effectiveness of offering the app on a larger scale.