Understanding Black Matriarchal Role Models in the U.S. Attitudes and Beliefs about Breastfeeding

Lyshsae Otarola, Jamilia Sly, Taisha Manigat, Jamie Shapiro, John Wetmore, Migdalia Torres, Lina Jandorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Despite the tremendous health benefits for both mother and infant, black women (including African Americans and those who self-identify as black) have lower rates of breastfeeding than all other racial groups. Historically, matriarchal role models have been essential within the black family structure. The purpose of this study was to explore matriarchal role models' attitudes and beliefs about breastfeeding. Methods: Thirty-eight black women between the ages of 46-82 years were surveyed regarding their perceptions of breastfeeding. Results: Our results revealed that 44.1% of the participants believed that breastfeeding is a better infant feeding method. However, 52.6% of the participants did not demonstrate confidence in their ability to breastfeed overall. Conclusions: These findings suggest that while black matriarchal role models have positive attitudes about breastfeeding behaviors, they may need to be educated along with postpartum and/or prenatal women about breastfeeding benefits and techniques to better support and improve black women's initiation and continuation of breastfeeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-505
Number of pages5
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Breastfeeding
  • breastfeeding attitudes
  • breastfeeding beliefs
  • breastfeeding in African American women
  • matriarchal role models


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