Picture of Cindy-Lee Dennis

Dr. Cindy-Lee Dennis Receives CIHR Grant for Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Trial

24 June 2013

A grant ranked number 1 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) randomized controlled trials review panel, Dr. Cindy-Lee Dennis is the recipient of $1.25 million in funding to evaluate the effect of a breastfeeding self-efficacy enhancing intervention provided by a professional and peer team on breastfeeding exclusivity rates at six months postpartum.  This trial will be the first of its kind and will recruit close to 1,000 first-time mothers from three Toronto hospitals over three years.

“Leading health authorities such as the World Health Organization and the Canadian Paediatric Society all recommend breastfeeding as optimal for infants during the first six months of life and then, once other foods are introduced, to continue breastfeeding until two years and beyond,” says Dr. Dennis, who developed the internationally-adopted Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Theory and corresponding Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Scale. “Despite these recommendations, the clear health benefits of breastfeeding and an initiation rate of 90% in Canada, a recent nation-wide survey found that only 27% of mothers are exclusively breastfeeding to six months postpartum.”

Studies have traditionally looked at either professional support or peer support related to a new mother’s decision to breastfeed.  Dr. Dennis is embarking on a trial that will make substantive contributions in five areas: (1) advancing the body of knowledge concerning the effectiveness of a breastfeeding self-efficacy enhancing intervention on improving breastfeeding outcomes; (2) examining the utility of providing professional and lay support in the provision of breastfeeding care; (3) providing an economic evaluation of a breastfeeding support intervention;  (4) examining maternal and infant health service utilization in relation to infant feeding method; and (5) presenting valuable information regarding breastfeeding behaviours across the first year postpartum in a diverse Canadian sample.

For more information on Dr. Dennis’s work, please go here.