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J Midwifery Womens Health. 2000 May-Jun;45(3):246-52.

Breastfeeding duration among low income women.

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Georgetown University School of Nursing, Washington, D.C. 20057-1107, USA.


Breastfeeding has been identified as a possible deterrent to the development of osteoporosis and breast cancer in women. In addition, infants who are breastfed exclusively for at least 4 months reportedly have fewer incidence of SIDS, ear infection, diarrhea, and allergies. Further, low income women who breastfeed may be empowered by the experience. Increasing the frequency and duration of breastfeeding is recognized as a national priority, particularly for low income, minority women. Yet, recent national data indicate that in 1997, only 16.5% of low income mothers breastfed for at least 6 months. Short breastfeeding duration in low income women may be due to problems unique to them; thus, consistent and comprehensive breastfeeding support should be provided by midwives, nurses, lactation consultants, and peer counselors who are skilled in culturally sensitive management of lactation within the context of limited financial and social resources. This article focuses on the benefits of breastfeeding, and factors that may influence its duration. It also explores culturally relevant strategies as well as suggested interventions to increase breastfeeding duration among low-income women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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