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Journal of Human Lactation 28(2) 167–173; DOI: 10.1177/0890334412438403


Background: Breastfeeding rates are typically higher among Hispanic women; however, they vary by acculturation status in that those more acculturated are less likely to breastfeed than those who are less acculturated. This study examined the association between acculturation and breastfeeding behaviors using population-based data.

Methods: Data (N = 8942) from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) were used for analysis. Acculturation status was determined using self-reported Hispanic ethnicity and the language in which the women responded to the PRAMS survey, either English or Spanish. Hispanic women who responded to the survey in Spanish were categorized as less acculturated than those who responded in English. Breastfeeding indicators used were: initiation, duration to ≥ 10 weeks, and exclusive breastfeeding to ≥ 10 weeks.

Results: The prevalence rates of breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusive breastfeeding to ≥ 10 weeks were significantly higher among less acculturated than among highly acculturated. More acculturated were less likely to initiate breastfeeding (prevalence ratio [PR] = 0.88; 95% CI, 0.86-0.90), less likely to breastfeed ≥ 10 weeks (PR = 0.77; 95% CI, 0.72-0.82), and less likely to report exclusive breastfeeding to ≥ 10 weeks (PR =,0.70; 95% CI, 0.58-0.85). The relationship between breastfeeding continuation and acculturation persisted after adjusting for covariates in that more acculturated were less likely to breastfeed to ≥ 10 weeks (adjusted prevalence ratio [APR] = 0.81; 95% CI, 0.75-0.87), as did the relationship between exclusivity and acculturation; more acculturated were less likely to report exclusive breastfeeding (APR = 0.69; 95% CI, 0.55-0.87).

Conclusions: Breastfeeding promotion efforts must include culturally/linguistically supportive services to assure that women are able to make optimal infant feeding decisions.

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