A Qualitative Study of Social, Cultural, and Historical Influences on African American Women's Infant-Feeding Practices

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe cultural factors influencing African American mothers' perceptions about infant feeding. Analysis of six focus group discussions of diverse African American mothers yielded sociohistorical factors that are rarely explored in the breastfeeding literature. These factors are events, experiences, and other phenomena that have been culturally, socially, and generationally passed down and integrated into families, potentially influencing breastfeeding beliefs and behaviors. The results from this study illuminate fascinating aspects of African American history and the complex context that frames some African American women's choice about breastfeeding versus artificial supplementation feeding. This study also demonstrates the need for developing family centered and culturally relevant strategies to increase the African American breastfeeding rate.

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