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Breastfeed Med. 2013 Dec;8(6):479-84. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2013.0051. Epub 2013 Aug 24.

Increased breastfeeding rates in black women after a treatment intervention.

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Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons , New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York.


There has been a considerable increase in rates of breastfeeding in the United States. Despite these trends, black women continue to fall below medical recommendations. Impoverished and poorly educated women also have a comparatively lower rate of breastfeeding. Provider encouragement and supportive interventions increase breastfeeding initiation among women of all backgrounds. The data presented come from a three-site randomized controlled bilingual depression treatment trial from 2005 to 2011 that examined the comparative effectiveness of interpersonal psychotherapy and a parenting education program. Breastfeeding education and support were provided for the majority of participants in each intervention. Breastfeeding status was queried at postpartum week 4. We found higher rates of breastfeeding in black women compared with those reported in national surveys. The black breastfeeding rate did not significantly differ from that of white or Hispanic women. American-born black women were just as likely to breastfeed as American-born white women, both at significantly greater rates than American-born Hispanic women. We also found no differences in breastfeeding rate in poorly educated and impoverished women. These data must be seen against the backdrop of a significant intervention to treat depression. Because breastfeeding interventions have been shown to increase breastfeeding rates, the support provided in our study likely increased rates in groups that lag behind.


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