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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019 Aug 30;68(34):745-748. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6834a3.

Racial Disparities in Breastfeeding Initiation and Duration Among U.S. Infants Born in 2015.


Surveillance of U.S. breastfeeding duration and exclusivity has historically reported estimates among all infants, regardless of whether they had initiated breastfeeding. These surveillance estimates have consistently shown that non-Hispanic black (black) infants are less likely to breastfeed, compared with other racial/ethnic groups.* Less is known about disparities in breastfeeding duration when calculated only among infants who had initiated breastfeeding, compared with surveillance estimates based on all infants. CDC analyzed National Immunization Survey-Child (NIS-Child) data for infants born in 2015 to describe breastfeeding duration and exclusivity at ages 3 and 6 months among all black and non-Hispanic white (white) infants, and among only those who had initiated breastfeeding. When calculated among all infants regardless of breastfeeding initiation, breastfeeding differences between black and white infants were 14.7 percentage points (95% confidence interval [CI] = 10.7-18.8) for any breastfeeding at age 3 months and were significantly different for both any and exclusive breastfeeding at both ages 3 and 6 months. Among only infants who had initiated breastfeeding, the magnitude of black-white differences in breastfeeding rates were smaller. This was most notable in rates of any breastfeeding at 3 months, where the percentage point difference between black and white infants was reduced to 1.2 (95% CI = -2.3-4.6) percentage points and was no longer statistically significant. Black-white disparities in breastfeeding duration result, in part, from disparities in initiation. Interventions both to improve breastfeeding initiation and to support continuation among black mothers might help reduce disparities.

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