Breastfeeding Practices Among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Women at the Postpartum Visit

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Abstract

Background:

Breastfeeding is an active area in public health advocacy. Despite documented benefits for infants and mothers, exclusive breastfeeding is not universal. Ethnicity, among other variables, has been shown to influence breastfeeding practice.

Research aim:

Our study aimed to determine which variables are associated with infant feeding patterns at the postpartum visit; compare the sociodemographic variables associated with infant feeding patterns between Hispanic and non-Hispanic mothers; and determine the odds of exclusive breastfeeding, mixed feeding, and exclusive formula feeding associated with sociodemographic characteristics.

Methods:

A retrospective, cross-sectional two-group comparison design was used. Hispanic and non-Hispanic women’s (N = 666) infant feeding patterns at 6-week postpartum were analyzed. Group comparisons were made of the demographic characteristics and infant feeding practice.

Results:

Thirty-four percent of Hispanic participants reported exclusive breastfeeding compared with 59% of non-Hispanic White participants. Language and body mass index were significantly associated with infant feeding patterns among Hispanic participants. Compared with non-Hispanic White participants, Hispanic participants had increased odds of reporting mixed feeding and exclusive formula feeding.

Conclusion:

Breastfeeding initiatives should target English-speaking Hispanic mothers and obese Hispanic mothers to align breastfeeding rates with medical recommendations. Healthcare providers may benefit from additional training to address barriers to breastfeeding among obese women and to provide culturally sensitive support that encourages continued breastfeeding in this population.

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