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J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2009 Mar-Apr;38(2):230-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2009.01011.x.

Breastfeeding self-efficacy in women of African descent.

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Department of Nursing, St. Anselm College, 100 St. Anselm Drive, Manchester, NH 03102, USA.



To determine whether breastfeeding self-efficacy predicts the duration and pattern of breastfeeding in a sample of Black women of African descent.


Descriptive, longitudinal, cohort study. Participants were recruited during the postpartum hospitalization and followed monthly for 6 months or until complete weaning. Breastfeeding self-efficacy was measured using the Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Scale--Short Form (BSES-SF) (Dennis, 2003).


A large urban teaching hospital in New England.


Women who self-identified as being of African descent with full-term infants who were planning to breastfeed (N=125).


Breastfeeding pattern was determined by the total number of feedings the infant received in the past 24 hours and how many of these were breast milk. Duration of breastfeeding was defined as the number of weeks until complete weaning.


Higher levels of breastfeeding self-efficacy predicted longer duration and a more exclusive pattern of breastfeeding at 1 and 6 months postpartum, consistent with prior research (p<.01). Planned pattern of feeding predicted actual pattern of feeding at 1 month postpartum (p<.01). Returning to work after 12 weeks was protective of breastfeeding to 6 months postpartum (p<.01).


Theory-based interventions to enhance self-efficacy will help improve breastfeeding outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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