Breastfeeding Grand Rounds 2017

The Impact of Social and Cultural Values on Breastfeeding Practice and Strategies to Address Disparities

Originally presented on August 3, 2017

Naomi Bar-Yam, PhD, ACSW
Executive Director, Mothers' Milk Bank Northeast
President, Human Milk Banking Association of North America

Kimberly Seals Allers, MS, Director, First Food Friendly Community Initiative & Author, The Mocha Manual and The Big Let Down

Ruth Lawrence, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Obstetrics, and Gynecology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

The social context in which a mother gives birth and cares for her child greatly affects whether she initiates and continues breastfeeding. Scholarly and popular literature describes breastfeeding as both a biological and social practice. As such, breastfeeding advocates and health professionals have critically examined and compared the ways in which biosocial factors shape breastfeeding practices among racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups in the United States. This Breastfeeding Grand Rounds will demonstrate how U.S. social values influence breastfeeding practices among mothers from different racial-ethnic and socioeconomic groups in the U.S. Presenters will describe strategies that have worked to change cultural norms and societal values in ways that positively affect breastfeeding rates among different U.S. groups and enhance its broader social acceptance.

Learning Outcomes
As a result of this activity, the learner will be able to enhance their knowledge and competence on how U.S. social values influence breastfeeding practices among mothers from different racial - ethnic and socioecomonic groups in the U.S.

Learning Objectives
After watching this broadcast participants will be able to:

  • Describe the disparities in breastfeeding rates in different populations of women in the U.S.;
  • Name at least three ways that cultural or social values have negatively impacted breastfeeding rates in the U.S.;
  • Identify at least three cultural or social values that strengthen or support breastfeeding mothers; and
  • Name a strategy that has been successful in changing cultural norms to encourage or increase breastfeeding within a population of mothers in the U.S.

Target Audience
Medical providers and public health professionals, including physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, health educators and lactation consultants and any others seeking to support breastfeeding mothers and/or address health disparities. 

Federally funded through the United States Department of Agriculture and the New York State Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

Continuing Education Credits for this activity expired on August 31, 2020. We encourage you to fill out the evaluation as it helps us to plan future programs. Thank you!