Can a text message a week improve breastfeeding?

Gallegos, Danielle, Russell-Bennett, Rebekah, Previte, Josephine, & Parkinson, Joy (2014) Can a text message a week improve breastfeeding? BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 14(374).

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Breastfeeding is recognised as the optimal method for feeding infants with health gains made by reducing infectious diseases in infancy; and chronic diseases, including obesity, in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Despite this, exclusivity and duration in developed countries remains resistant to improvement. The objectives of this research were to test if an automated mobile phone text messaging intervention, delivering one text message a week, could increase “any” breastfeeding rates and improve breastfeeding self-efficacy and coping.


Women were eligible to participate if they were: over eighteen years; had an infant less than three months old; were currently breastfeeding; no diagnosed mental illness; and used a mobile phone . Women in the intervention group received MumBubConnect, a text messaging service with automated responses delivered once a week for 8 weeks. Women in the comparison group received their usual care and were sampled two years after the intervention group. Data collection included online surveys at two time points, week zero and week nine, to measure breastfeeding exclusivity and duration, coping, emotions, accountability and self-efficacy. A range of statistical analyses were used to test for differences between groups. Hierarchical regression was used to investigate change in breastfeeding outcome, between groups, adjusting for co-variates.


The intervention group had 120 participants at commencement and 114 at completion, the comparison group had 114 participants at commencement and 86 at completion. MumBubConnect had a positive impact on the primary outcome of breastfeeding behaviors with women receiving the intervention more likely to continue exclusive breastfeeding; with a 6% decrease in exclusive breastfeeding in the intervention group, compared to a 14% decrease in the comparison group (p < 0.001). This remained significant after controlling for infant age, mother’s income, education and delivery type (p = 0.04). Women in the intervention group demonstrated active coping and were less likely to display emotions-focussed coping (p < .001). There was no discernible statistical effect on self-efficacy or accountability.


A fully automated text messaging services appears to improve exclusive breastfeeding duration. The service provides a well-accepted, personalised support service that empowers women to actively resolve breastfeeding issues.

Trial registration

Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12614001091695.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 78380
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Breastfeeding; Mobile phone; Text messaging; Intervention studies; Coping behaviour
DOI: 10.1186/s12884-014-0374-2
ISSN: 1471-2393
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NUTRITION AND DIETETICS (111100) > Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified (111199)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Current > Schools > School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Gallegos et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Deposited On: 06 Jan 2015 00:06
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2015 22:00

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