Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy as a Predictor of Breastfeeding Intensity Among African American Women in the Mama Bear Feasibility Trial
Shipp GM, Weatherspoon LJ, Comstock SS, Norman GS, Alexander GL, Gardiner JC, and Kerver JM. Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy as a Predictor of Breastfeeding Intensity Among African American Women in the Mama Bear Feasibility Trial. Breastfeed Med 2022.
Background: Improving breastfeeding rates among African American (AA) families is an important public health goal. Breastfeeding self-efficacy, a known predictor of breastfeeding behavior, has seldom been assessed among AAs, in relation to breastfeeding intensity (% breastfeeding relative to total feeding) or as a protective factor in combating the historical breastfeeding challenges faced by people of color. We aimed to test the association between breastfeeding self-efficacy assessed during pregnancy and breastfeeding intensity assessed in the early postpartum period.
Methods: This was a secondary data analysis of a randomized controlled feasibility trial of breastfeeding support and postpartum weight management. AA women were recruited during pregnancy from a prenatal clinic in Detroit, MI. Data presented, in this study, were collected at enrollment (n = 50) and ∼6 weeks postpartum (n = 31). Linear regression models were used, adjusting for potential confounders.
Results: There were no differences in breastfeeding intensity by study arm; data are from all women with complete data on targeted variables. Age ranged from 18 to 43 years, 52% were Women, Infant's, and Children program enrollees, and 62% had ≥ some college. Breastfeeding self-efficacy during pregnancy was a significant predictor of breastfeeding intensity in the early postpartum period (β = 0.125, p < 0.05) with only slight attenuation in the fully adjusted model (β = 0.123, p < 0.05).
Implications for Practice: Our results confirm that self-efficacy is an important predictor of breastfeeding practice. Furthermore, the simple act of assessing breastfeeding self-efficacy permits an opportunity for women to reflect on breastfeeding possibilities, and can inform individualized confidence-building interventions to improve the disproportionately low breastfeeding rates among AAs.
Clinical Trial Registration number NCT03480048.
ePub ahead of print