Author(s): Johnson AM, Kirk R, Muzik M
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Persistent racial disparities in breastfeeding show that African American women breastfeed at the lowest rates. Return to work is a critical breastfeeding barrier for African American women who return to work sooner than other ethnic groups and more often encounter unsupportive work environments. They also face psychosocial burdens that make breastfeeding at work uniquely challenging. Participants share personal struggles with combining paid employment and breastfeeding and suggest workplace and personal support strategies that they believe will help continue breastfeeding after a return to work. OBJECTIVE: To explore current perspectives on ways to support African American mothers' workplace breastfeeding behavior. METHODS: Pregnant African American women (n = 8), African American mothers of infants (n = 21), and lactation support providers (n = 9) participated in 1 of 6 focus groups in the Greater Detroit area. Each focus group audiotape was transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was used to inductively analyze focus group transcripts and field notes. Focus groups explored thoughts, perceptions, and behavior on interventions to support African American women's breastfeeding. RESULTS: Participants indicate that they generally believed breastfeeding was a healthy option for the baby; however, paid employment is a critical barrier to successful breastfeeding for which mothers receive little help. Participants felt breastfeeding interventions that support working African American mothers should include education and training for health care professionals, regulation and enforcement of workplace breastfeeding support policies, and support from peers who act as breastfeeding role models. CONCLUSION: Culturally appropriate interventions are needed to support breastfeeding among working African American women. © The Author(s) 2015.
This article was published in J Hum Lact
and referenced in Review of Public Administration and Management