Breastfeeding gaps between white, black, and Hispanic mothers in the US
Chapman University has published research on how breastfeeding rates differ among white, black and Hispanic mothers. The study looked to see if ethnic and racial disparities in breastfeeding could be explained by differences in the use of formula in hospitals, family history of breastfeeding, mother’s belief that “breast is best”; and demographic measures including poverty, education and relationship status.
The research found that, “Black mothers were nine times more likely to be given formula in the hospital than white mothers,” according to Jennifer Hahn-Holbrook, Ph.D., assistant professor in psychology at Chapman University and co-author on the study.
“This fact alone accounted for about 20 percent of the racial disparity in breastfeeding duration between black and white mothers. In-hospital formula introduction is something that hospital policy makers and breastfeeding advocates can seek to change, whereas some other factors that led to breastfeeding disparities in our study are not so easily addressed,” Hahn-Holbrook continued.