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Nurs Womens Health. 2018 Feb;22(1):64-78. doi: 10.1016/j.nwh.2017.12.004.

Intention and Initiation of Breastfeeding Among Women Who Are Incarcerated.


The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative recommends that all mothers be shown how to breastfeed, even when mothers and newborns are separated. Most incarcerated women are separated from their infants after the postpartum hospital stay, creating barriers to breastfeeding. We examined breastfeeding among a sample of women participating in a prison-based pregnancy program. Quantitative data indicated that women who discussed breastfeeding with their doulas were more likely to initiate breastfeeding. Three qualitative themes were identified: Benefits of Breastfeeding, Barriers to Breastfeeding, and Role of the Doula. We identified incongruence between the expected standard of breastfeeding support and the care incarcerated women received. Findings suggest that prison-based doula care might be an effective intervention for supporting breastfeeding among incarcerated women and highlight the importance of education for perinatal nurses about breastfeeding support of incarcerated women.


breastfeeding initiation; breastfeeding intention; breastfeeding support; doula; incarceration

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