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Infant Feeding Practices of Low-income African American Women in a Central City Community
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It is a well-established fact that nutrition is central to the growth and development of all infants. Yet it has been observed that health care professionals are frequently unfamiliar with the most typical infant feeding practices of the clients within the communities they attempt to serve. This observation was apparent during the development of a program in an inner-city community of Wisconsin to support the feeding practices of low-income African American women with low-birth-weight infants. As a result of initial encounters with prospective clients and health care and social service professionals from the targeted community, it was apparent that professionals and staff involved in this project needed to gain an understanding of common infant feeding practices of low-income African American women; a greater awareness of the values, beliefs, and health care practices of the population; and a greater understanding of the impact of poverty on the families within the targeted community. To assist the staff in gaining a better understanding of the influence of culture and economics on infant feeding practices, a study of the infant feeding practices of a select group of low-income African American women was undertaken. The study aimed to (a) gather information that could be used to describe common infant feeding practices of low-income African American women in an inner-city community of Wisconsin and (b) determine the influence of cultural and economic variables on the decisions made by low-income African American women regarding infant feeding. This article presents an analysis and summary of the data collected during the course of the study. (Authors)
Journal
1997
14
3
189-205
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