Online Program

Breastfeeding attitudes, beliefs, and practices in low-income African American women in Shelby County, Tennessee, before a planned media campaign

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Julie Ware, MD, MPH, FAAP, FABM, IBCLC, All Better Pediatrics, Cordova, TN
Fawaz Mzayek, MD, MPH, PhD, School of Public Health, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Marian Levy, DrPH, RD, FAND, Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Memphis School of Public Health, Memphis, TN
Background: Shelby County, (Memphis) Tennessee has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country, with pronounced disparities among African Americans.

Objective: To examine baseline breastfeeding attitudes, beliefs, and practices before the launch of a local media campaign, designed with input from focus groups with the target population. Methods: A convenience sample from the target population of low income African American women completed self-administered surveys to assess breastfeeding attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Results: Among 133 participants ranging from 15-50 + years old, 89.4% had seen, heard, or read something about breastfeeding within the last year: billboard (30%), transit sign (12%), doctor's office (58%), TV (47%), newspaper (23%), magazines (50%), radio (14%) or “other” (23%). Of those with children, 64% said they had breastfed, while 60% said breastfeeding or breast milk feeding was the best way to feed a baby. A total of 83% strongly agreed that breastfeeding is important for a child's long-term health. Only 55% said they would breastfeed a new baby. Reasons not to breastfeed included concerns with public breastfeeding (9%), fear of pain (9%), fear of harming the baby (4%), or because it was a “sexual thing” (2%). Conclusions: Most of the participants had seen, heard, or read something about breastfeeding within the last year. While importance of breastfeeding has penetrated the target population, many potential mothers do not plan to breastfeed their new baby. Input from this target population highlighted barriers to breastfeeding before launching a planned media campaign to promote the norm of breastfeeding.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify current attitudes toward breastfeeding in an underserved population Describe the descrepancy between attitudes and behaviors toward breastfeeding in a high-risk population

Keyword(s): Breastfeeding, Underserved Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Fellow of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine; AAP's Tennessee Co-Chapter Breastfeeding Coordinator; and Chair of the Shelby County Breastfeeding Coalition.
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.