Barriers and Facilitators Influencing Infant Feeding Practices of Black Mothers: A Scoping Review of the Literature and a Quantitative Study

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Haley, Chanell O.
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Middle Tennessee State University
Breastfeeding has been shown to provide health benefits to an infant as well as the mother. Although existing literature demonstrates the benefits of breastfeeding, Black mothers continue to have lower breastfeeding initiation and duration rates compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Prior studies have examined various factors such as breastfeeding knowledge, the availability of social support, and social determinants to examine the lower rates of breastfeeding within the Black community. Information on barriers and facilitators that significantly influence breastfeeding practices among Black women can be used to develop programs and initiatives. Therefore, the current study adds to the growing body of literature examining impactful breastfeeding variables. Article one is a scoping review of the literature which focuses on Black mothers utilizing breastfeeding social media groups as a form of social support. The scoping study explores the various forms of social support provided through social media and emerging themes within the literature. Additionally, the study highlights the importance of breastfeeding spaces specifically for Black mothers. Within the scoping review, few included articles discuss the wants and importance of a supportive Black breastfeeding community. Supportive communities were described as places where women of shared cultural experiences can bond and feel seen. Lastly, the study explored potential social media strategies to increase breastfeeding rates among Black women. Article two is a quantitative study based on the social ecological model. Although numerous studies on the breastfeeding behaviors of Black women exist within the literature, to our knowledge, this is the first study focusing on Black women in Tennessee. The purpose of the study is to determine barriers and facilitators within the levels of the social ecological framework which influence breastfeeding initiation and duration among Black women residing in Tennessee. Quantitative survey data were analyzed to determine which multi-level predictive variables impacted breastfeeding initiation within one hour of birth and breastfeeding duration rates. Study findings indicate that prenatal self-efficacy, assistance from a birth worker, and social support were significant determinants of breastfeeding within one hour of birth and breastfeeding durations.
Black mothers, Breastfeeding, Health disparities, Infant health, Maternal health, Health sciences