Breastfeeding Barriers and Support in a Rural Setting

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Although various breastfeeding interventions have proven effective in increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration, there has been less success in rural areas. This article describes breastfeeding barriers and support in a rural setting.

Study Design and Methods:

A community needs assessment was conducted with a sample of healthcare providers and breastfeeding mothers in a rural area of Missouri. In-depth interviews with 10 healthcare providers and 3 breastfeeding mothers and a focus group of 10 mothers who were breastfeeding or had recently breastfed were conducted. Interview and focus group questions were designed to capture a holistic perspective of breastfeeding issues.


Gaps in hospital and community breastfeeding support were observed in the emerging themes: lack of realistic information about the breastfeeding experience, breastfeeding time constraint, and lack of continued support.

Clinical Implications:

From a community practice perspective, gaps in breastfeeding support illustrate an essential need for collective engagement of local stakeholders as the cornerstone to implement effective breastfeeding interventions.

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