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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3119.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - 11:24 AM

Abstract #116263

African American and Caucasian women's anticipation of the impact of work on breastfeeding - a multi-site grounded theory approach

Alexis Avery, MPH, Department of International Health, Tulane University, 1440 Canal Street, suite 2200, New Orleans, LA 70112, 505-795-6641, alexisbavery@yahoo.com, Patricia Underwood, PhD, RN, FAAN, School of Nursing, Old Dominion University, 140 The Green, Williamsburg, VA 23185, Kristine Zimmerman, MPH, National Center of Excellence in Women's Health, University of Illinois, Chicago, 1640 W. Roosevelt Road, MC980, Chicago, IL 60608, Jeanette H. Magnus, MD, PhD, Community Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health, 1501 Canal Street, SL 29, New Orleans, LA 70112, and Suzanne G. Haynes, PhD, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Women's Health, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W.- Room 719 E, Washington, D.C., DC 20201.

Only 14% of US mothers exclusively breastfeed their infants for the first six months of life despite education on infant-mother benefits. The current study used a Grounded Theory approach to analyze multi-site focus group data generated by the US DHHS/Office on Women's Health's study on infant feeding that was initiated to inform the National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign. The study is unique in that it obtained a diverse (economic, education, age) sample of African-American and Caucasian women recruited from the general population in San Francisco, Chicago and New Orleans. Women responded to questions, statements, and images and talked prospectively about their perceptions of infant feeding and motherhood. Constant comparative analysis yielded a major process that appeared to overshadow considerations of knowledge, perceived benefits or anticipated support. The process was labeled work accommodation apprehension. Both African-American and Caucasian pregnant women across sites perceived that breastfeeding is more difficult than formula feeding for working mothers. They often stated that breastfeeding was a healthier choice for babies; however, this was not sufficient to overcome the perception that work and breastfeeding are incompatible. Many women reported returning to work as a reason to terminate breast feeding, including one woman who stated: I always thought I wanted to start off breastfeeding and then of course if I have to go back to work, I would switch the baby to formula. These findings reinforce the need for workplace policy change. They also suggest that anticipatory education on surmounting perceived workplace obstacles may be critical to breastfeeding initiation.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, the participant will be able to

Keywords: Breastfeeding, Worksite

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Breastfeeding and Infant Nutrition

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA