Nicole Doris Gherlone, Elizabeth D Schifano, Amy Blodgett, Jessica P Hollenbach, Christine Trapp, Michelle M Cloutier


Background: Breastfeeding duration rates among low-income, racial/ethnic minority women, especially among Puerto Rican mothers living in the United States, continue to be disproportionately low. Reasons for these low breastfeeding duration rates are not clear and interventions increasing breastfeeding support among minority women have yielded conflicting results.

Study Objective: Examine the role of lay/personal, healthcare professional, and employer support on breastfeeding duration among a low-income, predominantly Latina sample.

Study Design: Participants were breastfeeding mothers (n=131) who were interviewed using a questionnaire including demographic information, infant feeding practices and Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS). Linear regression was used for analysis.

Results: Participants were low-income (85%), Latina (71%, (63% Puerto Rican)), high school educated or less (60%), and not married or in a domestic partnership (73%). Median duration of breastfeeding for the entire cohort was 3 months (range, 0.12-24 months).  80% of interviewed mothers initiated breastfeeding; 24% breastfed >6 months; and 13% breastfed >12 months. Among Latinas, Puerto Rican mothers reported shorter breastfeeding duration (p<0.01). Employer, maternal grandmother, and paternal grandmother support were associated with longer duration (AExp(B): 2.1, 95% CI [1.2, 3.7], p=0.01, AExp(B): 2.4, 95% CI [1.4, 4.1], p<0.01, AExp(B): 2.1, 95% CI [1.3, 3.5], p<0.01, respectively).

Conclusions and Relevance: Breastfeeding initiation rates were high but duration rates were low, especially in Puerto Rican mothers.. This highlights the importance of researching Latina subpopulations. Employer and grandmother support were associated with longer duration and could inform future interventions.

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