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Advisor: Rob Simmons, DrPH, MPH, CHES, Jefferson School of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University.


Through federal, state, and citywide initiatives, the proportion of women who have initiated breastfeeding (even if just for one feeding) has increased to the Healthy People 2010 target of 75%. However, the proportion of mothers who breastfeed at six months postpartum is substantially below the Healthy People 2020 target of 60.6% of mothers breastfeeding exclusively at six months postpartum. Philadelphia’s breastfeeding rate is among the lowest of major American cities. A primary reason for Philadelphia’s low breastfeeding rate is the demographic profile of the city’s residents. Women who are African American, with low education and income levels are less likely to breastfeed compared to their counterparts. The Maternity Care Coalition (MCC), a nonprofit organization that works with prenatal and postnatal mothers to improve maternal and child health outcomes, collects data on each postnatal mother when they go to enroll in any of the four programs offered by the organization. Secondary data analysis of the MCC database (N=731) was conducted to determine key differences between mothers who breastfed, used a mixed feeding method (both breast milk and formula), and used formula exclusively. Among mothers who participated in the MCC program, non-breastfeeding mothers were more likely to be (1) African American; (2) single; (3) have lower educational attainment (some high school or less); (4) were currently enrolled in school; (5) more likely to use Health Partners; were (6) more likely to have delivered their child at Temple Hospital; and (7) were more likely to be enrolled in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Family Start. With this pertinent information, MCC can better target and allocate their resources to improving breastfeeding initiation, continuation and exclusivity among women.