The decision between breastfeeding and formula feeding is complex both for low-income urban Latinas and for clinicians. This study provides a glimpse into the real-world experiences of Latinas who initially wanted to breastfeed and who had received instruction, but who eventually decided to use formula instead. Implications for Patient-Centered Care in these cases are explored.METHODS:
A retrospective qualitative study design. Data were from a subset of focus groups on breastfeeding out of a larger study of Latina hospital experiences, involving 42 Latina women (both Spanish and English dominant) who had given birth at a community-based teaching hospital located in East Los Angeles. Data were analyzed utilizing a constructivist grounded theory method to generate constructs and dimensions of the patients' experiences.RESULTS:
Participants described their initial desires to breastfeed, their knowledge of its benefits, as well as, their experiences with the hospital's breastfeeding instruction and support. They then described how their situation as low-income workers with complex family responsibilities influenced their decision to switch from breastfeeding to formula feeding.CONCLUSION:
While a laudable goal would be to have all mothers breastfeed their infants, a Patient-Centered Care approach for low-income urban Latinas may require a goal modified to fit their lived experiences.