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Breastfeed Med. 2008 Dec;3(4):231-7. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2008.0111.

Skin-to-skin contact for culturally diverse women having breastfeeding difficulties during early postpartum.

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College of Nursing, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32608, USA.

Erratum in

  • Breastfeed Med. 2009 Mar;4(1):53. Chiu, Sheau-Hey [corrected to Chiu, Sheau-Huey].



Early breastfeeding (BF) cessation is more common in black women and women who experience BF difficulties during early postpartum. Skin-to-skin contact (SSC) during early postpartum promotes and sustains BF. The focus of this secondary analysis is on BF status and maternal race/ethnicity.


Data were collected in a prospective exploratory study with 48 healthy and culturally diverse mother-full-term infant dyads. These dyads were selected because they were experiencing BF difficulties postbirth (mean, 16.9 hours). Following informed consent, the SSC intervention was given with four BFs: the next three after enrollment plus one before hospital discharge. BF status (duration and exclusivity) was measured using a six-category instrument, the Index of Breastfeeding Status, at hospital discharge and by telephone interview 1 week and 1 month later.


BF status was generally similar in this culturally diverse sample, except that at 1 month black mothers had lower exclusive BF (33%) and higher BF cessation (46.7%). These mothers were all high risk for poor BF outcomes, with black mothers at highest risk. Even so, BF outcomes exceeded those in studies that included all BF mothers whether or not they were having difficulties.


Based on these findings, we propose that this SSC BF intervention, provided in hospital in a time-sensitive manner by a warm perceptive person, can transcend the likelihood of early BF cessation for most mothers regardless of race/ethnicity.

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