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Table 4 Summary of breastfeeding practices, barriers, and influences among adolescent mothers 17 and younger in North Carolina (n = 22)

From: Infant feeding experiences among teen mothers in North Carolina: Findings from a mixed-methods study

  Qualitative findings
Practices • Many teens (17 out of 22) initiated breastfeeding
  • Half of those who initiated stopped within the first month, and many supplemented with formula or used the breast pump to give milk
  • Compared with Whites and Hispanics, fewer African Americans initiated breastfeeding, and more discontinued within the first 2 weeks
Barriers Reasons for not initiating
  • Fear of pain
  • Anticipation of difficulty upon return to school
  • No clearly articulated reason: "just didn't want to"
  Reasons for stopping
  • Pain
  • Difficulty latching on and insufficient breast milk
  • Returning to school-concerns included getting enough sleep, leakage, and difficulty and frequency of pumping
Influences Influences on initiation
  • Many teens said healthcare providers encouraged breastfeeding during prenatal care and at delivery
  • Many teens got support and encouragement to breastfeed from family though this was less common among Black teens
  • Having family members who had breastfed motivated some teens to try breastfeeding
  • Negative breastfeeding experiences of peers dissuaded a few teens from breastfeeding
  Influences on continuation
  • Few teens received hands-on professional assistance after hospital discharge
  • Encouragement from family did not help teens overcome technical difficulties
  1. Note. Qualitative findings are based on data from in-depth individual interviews with teen mothers in North Carolina conducted between November 2007 and February 2009.