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Matern Child Nutr. 2013 Jul;9(3):425-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1740-8709.2011.00390.x. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

Development of the breast milk expression experience measure.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143-0503, USA.


Exclusive breastfeeding provides optimal nutrition through 6 months. Recent research has shown that milk expression may affect breastfeeding duration. A woman's experience with milk expression might mediate the effect of milk expression on breastfeeding duration. The objective of this study was to develop a measure to evaluate women's experiences of expressing milk. Based on the available literature, we developed a brief measure of the Breast Milk Expression Experience (BMEE) assessing three dimensions: (1) social support for milk expression; (2) ease of learning how to express milk; and (3) personal experiences of milk expression. All items used 1-5 Likert scales, with higher scores indicating better experiences. We administered the items immediately after expression to 68 mothers who expressed milk post-partum. We evaluated this measure for reliability using Cronbach's alpha. Mothers completing the BMEE were 57% primiparous with 75% vaginal births. The BMEE demonstrated appropriate reliability with a Cronbach's alpha of 0.703 for the summary index and 0.719-0.763 for social support, learning experience and personal experience subscales. The BMEE also indicated good predictive validity; of the six mothers who had a mean score <3 on the 11-item scale post-partum, two (33.3%) were expressing breast milk at 1 month, compared with 37 (80.4%) of the 46 mothers who had a mean score ≥3 on the 11-item scale post-partum (P = 0.012). The BMEE is a promising measure of milk expression experience in this population. Use of this measure may allow improved understanding of women's experiences expressing milk.

© 2012 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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