Breastfeeding by Hispanic Women


  • Sara L. Gill

    1. PhD, RN, IBCLC, is an associate professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio School of Nursing, San Antonio, TX.
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Sara L. Gill, PhD, RN, IBCLC, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio School of Nursing, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229.


Objective: To review the literature to describe Hispanic breastfeeding beliefs, attitudes, and practices in the United States.

Data Sources: Using the search terms “Hispanics” and “breastfeeding,” both CINAHAL and MEDLINE (Ovid) databases were queried. Only research studies conducted in the United States from 1998 and 2008 were included in the review.

Study Selection: Fifty-five articles were located. Based on inclusion criteria, 38 research articles were included in this review.

Data Extraction: Each study was analyzed in relation to the purpose of the review.

Data Synthesis: Study findings were synthesized and organized into categories: acculturation status, breastfeeding intention, factors influencing initiation, breastfeeding barriers, breastfeeding support, and breastfeeding interventions.

Conclusions: Breastfeeding initiation rates are high among Hispanics living in the United States. Newly immigrated women initiate and continue to breastfeed longer than more acculturated women. Unfortunately, exclusive breastfeeding and duration rates fall well below the desired goals of Healthy People 2010. Interventions aimed at encouraging and supporting women to maintain their cultural traditions, beliefs, and practices related to breastfeeding are needed.