An abundance of data underscore the importance of breastfeeding and human milk for the optimal health of infants, children, mothers, and society. But while breastfeeding initiation rates have increased to more than 80% in the U.S., a disparity exists for African American mothers and infants. In this group, breastfeeding is initiated only about 69% of the time.
A new study to help identify the best strategies and practices to improve breastfeeding in the African American community leverages the opinions, knowledge, and experiences of subject matter exerts (SMEs) with national and international exposure to policies and practices influencing African American breastfeeding initiation rates. The insight from the SMEs was compared to focus group data with African American mothers who identified facilitators and barriers of breastfeeding initiation.
The comparison highlighted fundamental issues related to breastfeeding disparities, including the continued presence of stereotyping, disparities in approaches to care based on culture, and lack of access/ resources in specific communities and locations. Results of the study have been published in The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing.
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