Nurse Educator M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Missal, Bernita


Background: Exclusive breastfeeding is globally recognized as the best possible source of nutrition for infants due to breastmilk’s extensive health benefits. Significant disparities in breastfeeding initiation and duration exist among demographic groups in the United States, with African American breastfeeding initiation rates being significantly lower than any other race. Purpose: The purpose of this critical review of the literature is to explore the impact of providing culturally appropriate breastfeeding education interventions on the rate of exclusive breastfeeding among African American mothers with children 0 to12 months of age. Theoretical Framework: The theoretical frameworks utilized to guide this systematic review of the literature were Critical Social Theory and Black Feminist Theory. Methods: Eighteen articles were reviewed and analyzed for this critical review of the literature. Articles were published within the last nine years, and were selected if they evaluated a breastfeeding promotion intervention, explored breastfeeding perceptions and experiences of the target population, investigated the breastfeeding promotion interventions currently in use by professionals and individuals who provide infant feeding advice, or examined social and societal influences on the decision to breastfeed. Articles were then organized using the Matrix Method (Garrard, 2017) and appraised using the Johns Hopkins Evidence Based Practice Model (Dang & Dearholt, 2018). Results: Effective breastfeeding promotion targeting African American families includes providing multiple interventions, combining education and support interventions, utilizing of social media, involving support people, and tailoring information to address the unique contexts of African Americans. Barriers to effective breastfeeding promotion include unsupportive social influences, healthcare providers offering minimal or no support, and receiving culturally irrelevant education. Conclusion: Breastfeeding promotion interventions targeting African American families will be most effective if they include support persons, combine education and support interventions, and provide culturally relevant information. Implications: Healthcare providers working with pregnant or parenting African American mothers should be providing exclusive breastfeeding promotion interventions that address the unique social, experiential, and environmental contexts of African American families that impact the decision to breastfeed. Further research is required to more fully understand these contexts.

Degree Name

M.S. Nurse Educator

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Included in

Nursing Commons