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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth


Background Rates of breastfeeding are lower among minority and underserved populations in the United States. Our study objective was to assess pregnant persons attitudes and barriers to breastfeeding among a cohort at high risk for not breastfeeding. Methods We disseminated the Iowa Infant Feeding Attitude Scale (IIFAS) to 100 pregnant persons at least 18 years of age attending a prenatal visit in a low-resource, academic practice in south-central Louisiana (Woman’s Hospital). The IIFAS, as well as questions collecting information on breastfeeding experience and sociodemographic characteristics, were administered via interview. Medical records were reviewed to investigate associations between attitudes about breastfeeding in pregnancy and patient’s feeding choices during the delivery hospital stay. Fisher exact tests and Wilcoxon rank-sum tests were used to assess associations between categorical and continuous variables respectively. Results Of the 98 participants who completed the study, 8% were Hispanic, 63% were Black, 95% were Medicaid eligible, and 50% were unemployed. 59% (n = 58) went on to breastfeed/combination breast-formula feed (called “Any-Breastfeeding Group”) during the delivery stay. Total IIFAS score during pregnancy was significantly higher among those who went on to breastfeed during delivery hospital stay (Any-Breastfeeding Group vs. Formula-Feeding-Only Group: 58.9 ± 5.5 vs. 53.7 ± 6.2 respectively, p < 0.001). In the group that went on to only formula feed (Formula-Feeding-Only Group), only 4% agreed breastfeeding was more convenient when surveyed during pregnancy, compared to 45% of the Any-Breastfeeding Group. 60% of Formula-Feeding-Only Group agreed formula is as healthy as breast milk. Conclusion The three major themes that coincided with favorability toward breastfeeding in the study, and can be addressed during prenatal counseling, are: mother-infant bonding, convenience, and health benefits. By identifying attitudes and barriers to breastfeeding for patients during pregnancy who went on to not breastfeed, directed educational opportunities can be developed to address these specific attitudes to ultimately increase breastfeeding initiation and continuation.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.