Breastfeeding Disparity Research

Statewide Focus Groups for Texas WIC


HEMMY Professional Campaign Award
Promising Practice Designation
  • Focus Groups
  • In-Depth Interviews
  • Message Testing
  • National Review
  • Presentation of Findings
  • Breastfeeding
  • Interconception Women's Health
  • Infant Health and Safety
  • Black Communities
  • Hispanic Communities
  • Spanish Speakers
  • Women
  • Fathers
  • Grandmothers
  • Healthcare Providers
The Challenge

Texas WIC identified that there were disparities in rates of breastfeeding among mothers of color compared to White mothers. Only 74% of Black mothers initiate breastfeeding, compared to 86% of Hispanic mothers and 81% of White mothers. Additionally, significant disparities in exclusive breastfeeding rates exist. To improve these rates, Texas WIC sought to identify attitudes, barriers, and cultural norms that impact exclusive breastfeeding, especially in the first month.

The Research

To explore these issues, SUMA conducted extensive research that included one-on-one interviews, best practice research, and 40 focus groups with Black and Hispanic mothers, fathers, and grandmothers to reveal barriers to successful breastfeeding. Our researchers also held focus groups with nurses and WIC staff to hear about challenges as well as successful strategies for encouraging breastfeeding. Through this large-scale research, SUMA explored attitudes, barriers, and themes in order to develop culturally appropriate messages, communications, and programmatic strategies that will leverage community strengths, target relevant barriers, and address racial disparities in optimal infant nutrition and care.

The Results

Based on SUMA’s recommendations, WIC has:

  • Expanded promotion of breastfeeding services.
  • Expanded their peer dad program to educate more Texas fathers on breastfeeding.
  • Commissioned new materials to address the concerns about breastfeeding voiced in the focus groups.
  • Developed a new two-hour breastfeeding class for mothers and their support person (fathers, grandmothers, friends).

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