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Breastfeeding intention and practice in an urban minority population: relationship to maternal depressive symptoms and mother-infant closeness

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Current literature shows that predictors of breastfeeding practice vary depending on women's ethnic background. This study examines predictors of planning to breastfeeding and of successful breastfeeding initiation and persistence, including the relationship to maternal depressive symptoms, social support, and mothers' perception of closeness to their infants, in a sample of low-income African American and Hispanic women in the urban Northeast. Detailed interviews were conducted in the early third trimester, at 2 weeks following delivery, and 3 months postpartum. Rates of intention to breastfeed were similar for Hispanic and African American women. Among Hispanics, greater identification with Hispanic culture was associated with increases in the likelihood of planning to breastfeed. A smaller proportion of Hispanic women persisted, especially among those women who supplemented with formula. For all women, we found no relationship between breastfeeding practice and either social support or depressive symptoms. Mothers' perception of closeness to their infants was greater among breastfeeders compared to bottlefeeders.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Albert Einstein College of Medicine New York USA 2: Washington University in St. Louis Missouri USA 3: Fordham University New York USA

Publication date: August 1, 2004

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