Objectives: We examined the breastfeeding attitudes and practices in an American Indian population in Minnesota. Methods: We interviewed women prenatally (n = 380), at 2-weeks (n = 342) and at 6-months postpartum (n = 256). We conducted multivariable analyses to examine the demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal correlates of breastfeeding initiation and duration. Results: Factors positively associated with breastfeeding initiation included positive breastfeeding attitudes and social support for breastfeeding from the woman's husband/boyfriend and her mother. Factors positively associated with breastfeeding at 2-weeks postpartum were support from the woman's mother and positive attitudes about breastfeeding. The prenatal use of traditional American Indian medicines and cigarette smoking were both significantly associated with breastfeeding at 6-months postpartum. Conclusions: Programs to encourage breastfeeding in American Indian communities may be strengthened with protocols to encourage social support, recognition of the perceived health, developmental, and practical benefits of breastfeeding, and a focus on traditional American Indian health practices.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We appreciate the generosity of the women and infants who participated in this study, and to the tribal and urban American Indian health clinics and communities that worked with us on this study. The research nurses were central to the success of the study, and their efforts are gratefully acknowledged. This research is supported by the National Institutes of Deafness and Communications Disorders grant RO1DC02963 and the Lions Multiple 5M Hearing Foundation.
- American Indian
- Breast feeding
- Infant health
- Perinatal health
- Social support
- Traditional medicine