Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Soc Sci Med. 2000 May;50(10):1457-73.

Low-income mothers' views on breastfeeding.

Author information

1
Department of Communication, Tel Aviv University, Israel. guttman@post.tau.ac.il

Abstract

Nourishing infants presents women today with choices, desires, obligations and constraints. Despite mounting evidence about the health, psychosocial and societal benefits of breastfeeding both for women and infants, current breastfeeding rates worldwide are far from optimal, particularly among low-income women. Many mothers choose to use infant formula. Drawing from structured interviews with 154 mothers from an urban low-income multiethnic population in the United States, a typology of mothers' feelings about their infant feeding method is developed. Findings indicate that regardless of their feeding method, mothers tended to attribute higher health benefits to breastfeeding and perceived community norms as probreastfeeding. They differed in their rating and perceptions of logistics and the extent to which benefits mattered in their infant-feeding decision. Contradictions associated with the practice of breastfeeding even among mothers who breastfed, were reflected in their perceptions of social disapproval of breastfeeding in public, reports of ridicule by friends, lack of support from some health providers, and difficulties associated with working. A typology of mothers' emotional states resulting from such contradictions summarizes the findings and underscores how some mothers who did not, but would have liked to breastfeed, may be subjected to feelings of guilt and deprivation. Implications for educational interventions are to amplify prenatal infant feeding consultations and address ways to overcome logistical and apprehension barriers.

PMID:
10741581
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center