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Racial Disparities Persist in Breastfeeding in U.S. Infants

Smaller differences ID'd between black and white infants who initiate breastfeeding


FRIDAY, Aug. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Disparities in breastfeeding between black and white infants partly result from disparities in breastfeeding initiation, according to research published in the Aug. 30 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Jennifer L. Beauregard, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed National Immunization Survey-Child data for infants born in 2015 to describe breastfeeding duration and exclusivity at ages 3 and 6 months for all black and non-Hispanic white infants.

The researchers found that the differences in breastfeeding between black and white infants were 14.7 percentage points (95 percent confidence interval, 10.7 to 18.8) for any breastfeeding among all infants, regardless of breastfeeding initiation; rates differed significantly for any and exclusive breastfeeding at ages 3 months and 6 months. The magnitude of the differences in breastfeeding rates between black and white infants was smaller when analyses were restricted to infants who had initiated breastfeeding. At 3 months, the difference in the rate of any breastfeeding between black and white infants decreased to 1.2 percent (95 percent confidence interval, −2.3 to 4.6) and was no longer statistically significant.

"In order to address disparities in breastfeeding duration, continued efforts are needed to increase rates of breastfeeding initiation and support continuation of breastfeeding among black women," the authors write. "Closing the black-white gap in breastfeeding duration might require efforts of multiple groups."

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