Employment and breastfeeding outcomes in a sample of black women in the United States.
ABSTRACT Black women have lower rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration than other racial groups have, but the effects of employment on breastfeeding, specifically for Black women, have not been studied extensively. The purpose of this research was to determine the influence of work or maternity leave on breastfeeding duration in a sample of Black women. Participants were recruited in the first postpartum week, and then followed monthly for six months or until complete weaning. The timing of returning to work significantly influenced the risk of weaning. Women who returned to work prior to 12 weeks were more likely to wean their babies than both those who returned to work after 12 weeks as well as those who remained at home. Policies that allow for at least 12 weeks' maternity leave would be likely to increase breastfeeding duration for employed Black women. Interdisciplinary research is needed to address health and economic issues of maternity leave and to eliminate racial disparities.
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ABSTRACT: Abstract The goals of this article are to provide a review of key interventions and strategies that impact initiation and duration of breastfeeding with particular focus on low-income African American mothers' maternal psychological vulnerabilities during the early postpartum period using a social ecological perspective as a guiding framework. Although modest gains have been achieved in breastfeeding initiation rates in the United States, a projected gap remains between infant feeding practices and national Healthy People breastfeeding goals set for 2020, particularly among African Americans. These disparities raise concerns that socially disadvantaged mothers and babies may be at increased risk for poor postnatal outcomes because of poorer mental health and increased vulnerability to chronic health conditions. Breastfeeding can be a protective factor, strengthening the relationship between mother and baby and increasing infant health and resilience. Evidence suggests that no single intervention can sufficiently address the multiple breastfeeding barriers faced by mothers. Effective intervention strategies require a multilevel approach. A social ecological perspective highlights that individual knowledge, behavior, and attitudes are shaped by interactions between the individual woman, her friends and family, and her wider historical, social, political, economic, institutional, and community contexts, and therefore effective breastfeeding interventions must reflect all these aspects. Current breastfeeding interventions are disjointed and inadequately meet all African American women's social and psychological breastfeeding needs. Poor outcomes indicate a need for an integrative approach to address the complexity of interrelated breastfeeding barriers mothers' experience across layers of the social ecological system.Breastfeeding Medicine 11/2014; · 1.73 Impact Factor