142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Relationship characteristics associated with breastfeeding encouragement within support networks of low-income new mothers

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 8:55 AM - 9:15 AM

Ellen Schafer, MPH , Community & Behavioral Health, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, IA
Natalie Williams, Ph.D. , Department of Child, Youth, and Family Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
Siri Digney, M.S. , University of Memphis School of Public Health, Memphis, TN
Sato Ashida, PhD , Community & Behavioral Health, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, IA
Background: Breastfeeding provides substantial health benefits for infants and their mothers. Previous studies suggest that peer and professional support are important to the success of breastfeeding, but little is known about the types of social relationships associated with support provision to guide interventions.  This study evaluated the characteristics of low-income mothers and the social relationships they have with support network members that are associated with encouragement to exclusively breastfeed and encouragement to breastfeed in combination with formula feeding.

Methods: Social relationships between 287 support network members and 80 mothers with infants between the ages of 0-12 months in Memphis, TN were analyzed using two-level logistic regression models accounting for relationships nested within participant networks.

Results:  Exclusive breastfeeding encouragement was more likely to come from healthcare professionals (OR=6.177, 95%CI: 2.013, 18.956), those participating in making feeding decisions (OR=2.136, 95%CI: 1.198, 3.807), and those whose own children were exclusively breastfed (OR=5.981, 95%CI: 2.654, 13.480).  Encouragement to breastfeed in combination with formula was more likely to come from those who provide emotional support (OR=3.541, 95%CI: 1.805, 6.944), whose opinion was important to the participant (OR=2.557, 95%CI: 1.033, 6.329), and whose own children were fed using a combination feeding method (OR=7.369, 95%CI: 2.844, 19.092). 

Conclusions: Interventions to facilitate breastfeeding encouragement within mothers’ social networks should consider social norms related to infant feeding within the network and incorporating members who are likely to provide effective encouragement (e.g., those who are emotionally close and important to new mothers) in discussion about the benefits of breastfeeding.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the characteristics of social relationships associated with breastfeeding encouragement to new mothers. Discuss potential intervention strategies to address relationship factors related to breastfeeding.

Keyword(s): Breastfeeding, Low-Income

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I worked on this project as a research assistant during data collection, analysis, and now dissemination. I have written papers to be published about breastfeeding support based on this study sample.
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.