Maternal Race/Ethnicity and One-Month Exclusive Breastfeeding in Association with the In-Hospital Feeding Modality

Anna Petrova, Thomas Hegyi, Rajeev Mehta
Breastfeeding Medicine. 2007, 2(2): 92-98.


There are a few studies on the consequence of the use of breastmilk substitutes during the postpartum hospital stay on the duration of breastfeeding in the culturally diverse populations of the United States. The main purpose of this study was to identify the association between the in-hospital feeding pattern and the infant’s postdischarge feeding modality during the first month of life in a culturally diverse population of women. Demographic, clinical, and feeding practice data was colleted from the medical charts and interviews of mothers conducted in the first month after singleton delivery of healthy term newborns. Among the 307 mothers who completed the study, exclusive in-hospital breastfeeding was reported by 54.2% of White, 38.7% of Black, 54.0% of Asian, and 44.7% of Hispanic (p = 0.063), and among these, only 55.6%, 50.0%, 58.9%, and 19.1%, respectively, maintained exclusive breastfeeding during the first postpartum month (p < 0.02). The rate of exclusive breastfeeding at the end of the first month was 10.5%, 15.8%, 20.7%, and 3.9%, respectively, for the White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic mothers whose infants received partial or no breastfeeding in-hospital. Overall, the logistic regression analysis showed significant association between initiation of exclusive breastfeeding in-hospital and exclusive breastfeeding at the end of the first month (odds ratio 7.2 and 95% confidence interval 4.0, 12.6). In conclusion, we show a larger decline in the continuation of exclusive breastfeeding and the lowest rate of exclusive breastfeeding at 1 month in the Hispanic mothers. Irrespective of race/ethnicity, mothers who practice exclusive breastfeeding in-hospital are more likely to exclusively breastfeed throughout the neonatal period.