Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Simone P. Camel


Background: Breastfeeding has been shown to have multiple benefits for mother and child, yet rates of breastfeeding continue to stay insignificant. Infant nutrition is the base of future health of an individual, yet Registered Dietitians are not provided in depth breastfeeding education during their education.

Objective: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the active learning component of breastfeeding and lactation education modules meant to increase self-efficacy and confidence in the ability to perform lactation education and to obtain feedback regarding the usefulness of the developed education modules in graduate-level dietetic interns.

Design: This study was part of a larger breastfeeding education intervention with Dietetic Interns (N=38). The research took place in classrooms and online at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Louisiana Tech University, and the University of Central Arkansas. A pre-and post-test design was used to compare changes in self-efficacy related to the ability to provide nutrition services related to lactation after completing four breastfeeding education and lactation management modules.

Results: Of the respondents (n=31) 45% scored a 4 or 5 in all categories of gains questions. The greatest gains (scores of 4 or 5) were seen for “confidence in the understanding of types of infant stool” (87%) “ability to pour and store breastmilk correctly” (77.4%), “correct positioning of the bottle when bottle feeding an infant with breastmilk” (70%), and “ability to demonstrate infant stomach size” (74.2%). All self-efficacy items had statistically significant increases in scores when pre-intervention scores were compared to post-intervention scores. During reflections, participants verbalized positive important gains related to the active learning strategies applied in the intervention.

Conclusion: Participants felt hands-on active learning had a positive impact along with traditional lecture-style coursework. Providing future registered dietitian nutritionists with hands-on lactation education could increase their self-efficacy and confidence in the ability to provide lactation education in the future.