Breastfeeding among low-income women with and without peer support.

School of Nursing, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, Tallahassee, USA.
Journal of Community Health Nursing (Impact Factor: 0.65). 02/1998; 15(3):163-78. DOI: 10.1207/s15327655jchn1503_4
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This research examined the effect of peer support on breastfeeding duration and exclusivity (breastfeeding without supplements) in a population of low-income women during the first 3 months postpartum. Participants in the peer counselor group (n = 18) exhibited higher rates of exclusive breastfeeding across time than those without a counselor (n = 18), and more exclusive breastfeeding was associated with long duration overall. Mother's career plans had the greatest effect on duration of breastfeeding. Women who intended to return to work, attend school, or both breastfed 6 to 9 weeks less than participants who intended to stay home. Attendance at a breastfeeding class and knowing someone who had breastfed was significantly correlated with a longer duration of breastfeeding. Nutritionists from the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program were the primary source of breastfeeding information. Two main factors discouraged women from breastfeeding: returning to work, school, or both and the perception of a diminished milk supply. Greater emphasis should be placed on prenatal breastfeeding education for low-income women, and their mothers and grandmothers should be included. Peer support is one important component of social support in the area of breastfeeding that community health nurses (CHNs) can utilize. CHNs are in a unique position to assist working mothers, provide support, and develop educational programs to enhance breastfeeding success in this population.

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    ABSTRACT: Background. Despite high bedsharing rates, breastfeeding rates are low among African Americans. Objective. Describe the association between breastfeeding and bedsharing; elucidate barriers to breastfeeding in African Americans. Methods. African American mothers with infants <6 months were recruited for this cross-sectional, mixed-methods study and completed an infant care practices survey. A subgroup participated in focus groups or individual interviews. Results. A total of 412 completed the survey; 83 participated in a focus group or interview. Lower socioeconomic status mothers were more likely to breastfeed exclusively or at all if they bedshared (P = .02 and P = .01, respectively). Bedsharing was not associated with breastfeeding among higher socioeconomic status mothers. Breast pain, lack of support, and maternal skepticism about breastfeeding benefits were barriers; the latter was a recurrent theme among nonbreastfeeding mothers. Conclusions. While bedsharing is associated with breastfeeding in lower socioeconomic groups, it is not in higher socioeconomic African American groups. Skepticism about breastfeeding benefits may contribute to low breastfeeding rates in African Americans.
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