SAN FRANCISCO -- African-American/black (AA/B) women are less likely to initiate and continue breast-feeding than women of other races because of lack of desire to do so, according to a study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition.
Amudha Palaniappan, M.D., of the Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J., and colleagues analyzed data from a cohort of mothers who were exclusively formula feeding during the postnatal period. They evaluated the mothers' breast-feeding perceptions and decisions not to breast-feed. Sixty-two (43 percent) AA/B and 83 (57 percent) non-AA/B women took part in the study.
The investigators found that the most commonly reported barrier to breast-feeding was "lack of desire to breast-feed," with 55 percent of AA/B women and 27 percent of non-AA/B women citing this reason. AA/B women were less likely to report obstacles that were considered easily modifiable barriers as compared to non-AA/B women (23 versus 42 percent), and AA/B women were more likely to report obstacles that were considered not easily modifiable barriers as compared to non-AA/B women (89 versus 74 percent). Misinformation about breast-feeding was significantly more commonly reported among non-AA/B women.
"Better training of health care professionals, so they can convey accurate information about breast-feeding, will likely result in improved rates of breast-feeding, but the effects may be seen more in non-blacks than blacks," Palaniappan said in a statement. "Further research is needed to explore what contributes to lack of desire among blacks so we can develop new strategies to overcome the disparities in breast-feeding and related health outcomes."