Ringing up about breastfeeding
A randomised controlled trial exploring early telephone peer support for breastfeeding
What is the study about?
The RUBY study is a randomised controlled trial (RCT) which is exploring whether telephone support for breastfeeding (from a volunteer mother who has breastfed) increases the percentage of women giving their baby any breast milk at six months. We are testing whether providing this support in a proactive manner for mothers who may not easily have access to, nor readily seek, such support themselves will make a difference.
All mothers in the study will have had their first baby. They will be approached in the postnatal wards of the participating hospitals, and asked if they would like to take part in the study. In an RCT, women are allocated by chance to one of two groups; this means that half of the new mothers enrolled in the study will receive telephone support from volunteers and half will receive normal postnatal care. All the women in the study will have access to the usual community and hospital supports for breastfeeding.
Which organisations are involved in the study?
The project is collaboration between the university, hospital sectors and the peak community advocacy group for breastfeeding:
You can participate in two ways in this study: as a research participant or as a volunteer mother.
You may be eligible as a research participant if:
- you are admitted to the postnatal ward as a public patient at the Women's, Monash or Sunshine hospital, having had your first baby,
- speak English well, and
- are intending to breastfeed or are already breastfeeding.
If you are interested in becoming a RUBY volunteer, you may be eligible if you have breastfed your own baby for at least 6 month and have a positive attitude towards breastfeeding.
Who are the researchers?
The research team includes:
Professor Della Forster, Professor Helen McLachlan, Dr Mary-Ann Davey, Associate Professor Lisa Amir, Dr Lisa Gold, Professor Rhonda Small
Associate researchers are:
Ms Kate Mortensen (ABA), Ms Nanette Shone (ABA), Ms Anita Moorhead (The Women's), Ms Patrice Hickey (Sunshine Hospital), Ms Jenny Tenni (Sunshine Hospital), Ms Fiona McLardie-Hore (The Women's), Professor Cindy-Lee Dennis (Toronto University, Canada), Professor Chris East (MMC), Ms Heather Grimes (LTU), Dr Touran Shafiei (LTU)
How are we conducting the study?
We will recruit about 1150 women to be research participants in the RUBY study; around half of these women will be allocated a volunteer mother who calls them regularly in the early weeks after the birth of their baby.
We are not sure how many volunteer mothers we will need – it will depend on how long women volunteer for, and how many RUBY study participants they take on at any one time.
It is anticipated that the study will run for approximately three years. Volunteer mothers may be involved for all or part of the time. For example, some RUBY mothers may wish to provide support to one new mother, whilst others will be involved with multiple women over the course of the study.
Who is funding the study?
The study is funded by the Felton Bequest and in part by a PhD scholarship from LTU.
Privacy and access to information
Information collected is kept confidential and the data will be used only for the purposes of this study. We have research ethics approval to conduct this study.
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (ANZCTR) number: ACTRN12612001024831