Research indicates that African American women breastfeed at the lowest rates of any racial/ethnic group in the U.S. Breastfeeding has shown to have numerous health benefits for both mother and baby, making the lower rates of breastfeeding among African Americans a public health concern. Racial disparities in healthcare may contribute to these discrepancies. This research will analyze the perceptions of information and social support for breastfeeding provided by healthcare providers among a sample of African American mothers who breastfed their babies. The study asks: Do participants regard their healthcare providers as supportive of breastfeeding? Data were collected through in-depth qualitative interviews with 22 African American mothers. Participants interpreted their providers’ opinions on breastfeeding and formula and discussed whether they felt supported to breastfeed. Findings reveal which healthcare providers were perceived to be the most supportive of breastfeeding and themes within the time-frame codes: pregnancy, labor and birth, immediately after birth, and postpartum. The majority of participants felt supported during the first three stages. However, during the postpartum period, there was a lack of assistance from healthcare providers, resulting in limited breastfeeding support. Participants that did receive postpartum support typically received verbal affirmation, rather than given useful information.
Dr. Shannon Carter
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Orlando (Main) Campus
Treadwell, Tessa, "African American Mothers' Narratives of Breastfeeding Support from Healthcare Providers" (2017). Honors in the Major Theses. 260.