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Publication Date

December 1, 2014


Journal Article

WIC Mothers’ Social Environment and Postpartum Health on Breastfeeding Initiation and Duration

By Dafour-Oduro S, Kim J


A low breastfeeding rate has been a consistent maternal and child health problem in the United States, especially for low-income families. Understanding mothers’ social environment and overall well-being is important in determining how mothers will take care of themselves and their infants during the postnatal period in relation to the breastfeeding rate among low-income mothers. In this study, we examined the effects of the social environment of mothers enrolled in a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program in eastern Illinois and their postpartum health on breastfeeding initiation (n=103) and maintaining breastfeeding for at least 3 months (n=73). Using logistic regression models, a significant positive association (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=3.47; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.15-10.47; p=0.03) between marital status and breastfeeding initiation and a significant negative association (AOR=0.23; 95% CI, 0.06-0.88) between receiving food stamps and breastfeeding initiation were found. WIC mothers who were married were 4.1 times as likely to maintain any breastfeeding for at least 3 months than single mothers, and the association was significant (AOR=4.08; 95% CI, 1.36-12.27; p=0.01). The breastfeeding initiation rate was 77.7%, however, the mean±standard deviation age of the child when breastfeeding stopped was 2.2±1.4 months. There was a nonsignificant association between postpartum depression and breastfeeding initiation and maintaining any breastfeeding for 3 months. This study has shown that the familial environment of mothers plays a very important role in improving breastfeeding rates among WIC mothers. In addition, there is a negative relationship between using a food assistance program and breastfeeding among low-income women.

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Date Added
November 15, 2017

Dafour-Oduro S, Kim J (2014) 'WIC Mothers' Social Environment and Postpartum Health on Breastfeeding Initiation and Duration'. Breastfeeding Medicine: Vol. 9, Issue 10, pp. 524-529. Available online: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/bfm.2014.0067