Assessing knowledge of breastfeeding benefits among ethnic minority groups


Tracie W. Kirkland, PhD, DNP, ANP-BC, PPCPNP, CPNP-BC, highlights the importance of awareness to the benefits of breastfeeding, and ways to rethink equitable breastfeeding using patient-centered care.

Tracie W. Kirkland, PhD, DNP, ANP-BC, PPCPNP, CPNP-BC, associate teaching professor, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, University of Southern California, spoke to Contemporary Pediatrics about her session, "Rethinking Equitable Breastfeeding Management: Using a Patient-Centered Approach and AAP Guidelines," presented with colleague Allison Scott, DNP, CPNP-PC, IBCLC, at the 2024 National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) National Conference on Pediatric Health Care.

"Breastfeeding has so many benefits that are not just short term, but long term as well, in terms of prevention of certain chronic diseases like obesity, different cancers, and diabetes" said Kirkland.

"My discussion and/or expertise is surrounding ethnic minorities and breastfeeding. Having that conversation early on, encouraging different members of different communities and background, to breastfeed, and to really ask to assess, 'what is your knowledge about breastfeeding?'"

Kirkland told Contemporary Pediatrics just initiating a conversation lays the foundation to more equitable information when it comes to breastfeeding.

"Those conversations usually can start during well-woman exams," she added. "When that individual comes in for a well-woman exam, and you start talking about family history, social implication, jobs, what their diet [is], what their long-term and short-term goals are, is really critical, so when they have that very first missed menstrual cycle and begin their prenatal care, that engagement and rapport has already started"

"We also know that historically when we have providers that look like the individual we're seeing, it helps to make a difference in terms of buy-in and the [increase] in likelihood to adopt any behavior," said Kirkland.

"Not just for breastfeeding, but even for the individual with diabetes or hypertension, when there is a provider on the other side of the door engaging that looks like them, there's a higher incidence that there is buy-in and change in behavior."

Contemporary Pediatrics will have coverage of several posters, presentations, and video interviews with experts as the National Conference goes on. Visit each day for updates and the latest from the conference in Denver, Colorado.

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