Date of Paper/Work

4-2011

Type of Paper/Work

Systems Change Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Roberta Hunt, PhD, RN

Abstract

The health benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and infants are widely recognized and because of this, breastfeeding should be considered the preferred choice of infant feeding for all women. Its relevance as a disease prevention and health promotion tool should not be underestimated for any population. However, the breastfeeding rates for African American women remain well below the Healthy People 2020 goals.

The purpose of this project was to determine why breastfeeding rates are low in the African American community through exploring the barriers for African American women to breastfeeding. Through this research, appropriate interventions were developed and implemented to improve breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity rates in this population. Ten African American women of reproductive age, who had one live birth, reside in Minneapolis, and were either currently breastfeeding or had previously breastfed, were interviewed for this project.

This research used a qualitative, descriptive phenomenological approach to develop a deeper understanding of breastfeeding experiences of African American women. Data were analyzed and categorized into descriptive themes, using the participants’ own words to provide a unique insight into the barriers for breastfeeding success. From this analysis, implications for practice were identified.

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