The low rate of breastfeeding among low-income, inner-city African-American mothers is a health disparity now receiving national attention. Two new studies from University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital highlight some obstacles to increasing the breastfeeding rate in this population and identify methods to address this disparity.
Both studies were led Lydia Furman MD, of UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and an Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and were presented Oct. 17 at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Boston.
"Breastfeeding benefits infants and their mothers, but many barriers exist for mothers who want to breastfeed," Dr. Furman said. "These studies have helped us to identify some of the obstacles facing women and give us important information to begin to address these issues."
The first study, entitled "Low-Income Inner-City Fathers and Breastfeeding: Where's the Program for Us?", suggests that fathers of low-income children support breastfeeding, but are unsure of how to influence or help their child's mother (their partner) with breastfeeding.
Researchers conducted two focus groups each comprised of five men: two of the participants were expecting a child, and eight were current fathers. A moderator sought the men's views on breastfeeding and "father engagement programs" designed to use father/partner encouragement to promote breastfeeding.
Most of the participants had a positive view of breastfeeding and its potential health and emotional benefits for their child. However, many lacked specific knowledge about breastfeeding, perceived themselves as having limited influence on the mother's choice to breastfeed, and reported a lack of relevant programs for fathers and partners.
"The views and needs of fathers and partners of low-income, inner-city expectant women need attention," said Dr.
|Contact: Vic Gideon|
University Hospitals Case Medical Center