Barriers to Breastfeeding for Low-Income African American Mothers

Carmel Iman and Dr. Leann Laubach, University of Central Oklahoma, Department of Nursing, 100 N. University Dr., Edmond, OK 73034

Background: Breastfeeding is considered an optimal method of feeding infants and has numerous benefits for mothers; however, the percentage of mothers exclusively breastfeeding for the recommended duration is low. While 29.5% of Caucasian mothers exclusively breastfeed at six months, only 17.2% African American mothers breastfeed at six months. Mothers from all racial backgrounds experience significant barriers when they decide to breastfeed; nevertheless, this study focuses on low-income African American mothers and their unique challenges. Low-income African mothers are forced to return to work before establishing a breastfeeding routine with their infants, which impedes their breastfeeding efforts. These mothers are also likely to work in an environment that is not conducive to pumping. The lack of prenatal breastfeeding education, lack of family and societal support, and lack of access to breastfeeding support services are also some of the reasons why breastfeeding rates amongst this population is low. Purpose: This study aims to have a comprehensive understanding of the barriers that prevent low-income African American mothers from initiating and sustaining breastfeeding. Method: The issue of low breastfeeding rates amongst African American mothers requires a better understanding, and further research is needed to understand the phenomenon adequately. Therefore, a phenomenological qualitative research method is deemed necessary. This method would help gain a comprehensive understanding of the environmental, cultural, and socio-economic factors that influence decisions to initiate and sustain breastfeeding for low-income African American mothers. One-on-one interviews will be conducted with 8-10 African American mothers who are eligible for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) services. Conclusion: Gaining a better understanding of the various factors that prevent low-income African American mothers would be useful in developing culturally appropriate interventions to increase the number of infants being breastfed. Furthermore, it will help healthcare professionals develop educational resources applicable to the specific population.


Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Carmel Iman

Institution: University of Central Oklahoma

Type: Poster

Subject: Nursing & Public Health

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 9
Date/Time: Wed 12:00pm-1:00pm
Session Number: 6027