253536 Life Happens: The Context of Infant Feeding in an African American Community A Pilot Study

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ifeyinwa Asiodu , School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Purpose: The purpose of this pilot study was to understand and describe infant feeding methods of African American mothers. Breastfeeding is considered the gold standard of infant feeding. African American women have the lowest rates of initiation and continuation of breastfeeding in the US. Methods: Four African American women, aged 18-33 years old, participated in this ethnographic study. Participants were recruited from a community based organization. Detailed field notes and observations were recorded throughout the data collection process. A total of six interviews were completed and data were collected over a six-month period. All interviews were audio taped and transcribed. Consistent with ethnographic methods, data collection and analysis occurred concurrently. Relevant themes were identified, coded and placed into categories. Results: All of the participants noted an intention to breastfeed. However, life experiences and increased stressors played a significant role in preventing them from successfully implementing their intentions. Women expressed feelings of guilt for not successfully initiating or continuing breastfeeding (especially when their infant was ill). In addition, those who initiated breastfeeding reported feeling supported by their partners, grandmothers and health care providers. Conclusion: This preliminary data suggests that low-income African American women may be experiencing significant challenges and psychosocial stressors (such as limited social support) that affect the successful initiation and continuation of breastfeeding. Further exploration of these issues and those pertaining to African American women of higher socioeconomic status are critical to developing a more complete understanding of infant feeding disparities in the African American community.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify barriers to breastfeeding initiation in an African American community.

Keywords: Breastfeeding, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I conducted and analyzed all of the data being presented. In addition, I currently work with pregnant and parenting African American mothers and their families.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.