This research sought to describe associations among parity; demographic factors; and breastfeeding patterns in African-American women and determine their key motivations and impediments for breastfeeding. Parity and demographic factors have been associated with breastfeeding initiation and longevity.
Cross-sectional data from 224 pregnant African-American women (aged 15–42 years) participating in the Meharry Medical College Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Education Intervention Study from 2012-2014 were used to study parity in association with demographic factors (age, education, work status, marital status, income, and health insurance) and breastfeeding patterns (knowledge, barriers, and attitudes). Pearson chi-square tests were used to determine significant associations. The data was also used to probe motivations and impediments for breastfeeding among the women.
Parity alone had no statistically significant effect on breastfeeding knowledge, barriers, or attitudes. Breastfeeding knowledge was associated with age (P<.01) in nulliparous women. Breastfeeding barriers were associated with education (P<.01), marital status (P<.05), and income (P<.05) in all women and education (P<.05) and income (P<.05) in multiparous women. Breastfeeding attitudes were associated with education (P<.05) in all women and education (P<.05) and marital status (P<.01) in multiparous women. The top three motivations for breastfeeding were a healthy baby, nutrients, and bonding experience. The top three impediments were emotional issues, negative attitude, and lack of available time to breastfeed.
Younger, less educated, less wealthy, unmarried African-American women need greater support to improve breastfeeding patterns. Breastfeeding support programs should promote healthy babies, nutrients, and bonding experience; help resolve emotional issues and negative attitudes; and provide time management education.
Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN
Financial Disclosure: The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.