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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 - 10:30 AM

Abstract #98983

Breastfeeding rates among premature infants in Massachusetts: Data from a model public health database

Anne Merewood, MA, IBCLC, Division of General Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Maternity Building, 4th Floor, 91 East Concord St., Boston, MA 02118, 617-414-6455, anne.merewood@bmc.org, Daniel Brooks, DSc, Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118, Supriya Mehta, MHS, PhD, Department of Emergency Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Dowling 1 South, Room 1334, Boston, MA 02118, and Lindsay MacAuley, Department of Maternal and Child Health, Boston University School of Public Health, 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118.

Background: Breastfeeding initiation rates among US premature infants are not collected nationally, and such data are difficult to obtain. Human milk is particularly critical for premature infants. Objectives: To compare breastfeeding initiation rates among premature and term infants in Massachusetts, and to describe premature breastfeeding trends. Methods: MassCHIP, an online public health database created by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, includes detailed breastfeeding initiation rate data obtained from the birth certificate. Using MassCHIP, we compared breastfeeding rates among premature and term infants, and examined differences by socioeconomic and demographic factors. Results: Though Massachusetts births fell from 84,627 in 1993, to 80,624 in 2002, premature births as a proportion of total births increased from 7.1% (95% C.I. 6.9-7.3%) to 8.2% (95% C.I.: 8.0-8.4%). Breastfeeding initiation rates among term infants rose from 62% (1993) to 76% (2002) while rates among premature infants rose from 54% to 68%. Rates among premature infants rose in all racial/ethnic groups, but most dramatically among Asians (50% to 75%). In 2002, premature breastfeeding rates were lowest in Blacks (62%) and highest in Hispanics (75%); specifically, rates were lowest in US born Blacks (53%), and highest in non US born Hispanics (89%). Conclusion: Human milk is even more critical to premature than to term infants, but breastfeeding rates are considerably lower among premature than term infants in Massachusetts. Rates are lowest among Blacks, who have the highest rates of prematurity in the US. Interventions to increase breastfeeding rates should target parents of premature infants, particularly Black parents.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Breast Feeding, Infant Mortality

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