Date of Conferral





Public Health


Shingairai A. Feresu


Even though initiation of breastfeeding among term and preterm infants has increased, the incidence and duration among preterm infants continues to lag because of the unique challenges of breastfeeding preterm infants. African American mothers have the lowest rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration, and their preterm infants are less likely to receive breast milk while in the neonatal intensive care unit. The objective of this cross-€sectional quantitative study was to evaluate the relationship between breastfeeding and maternal sociodemographic factors as well as medical and obstetrical conditions for infants born between 32-€37 weeks gestational age in South Carolina from 2009 to 2011. The health belief model provided the framework for this study. Secondary data from the South Carolina Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System included 1,752 preterm pregnancies. Results of binary logistic regression and multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that mothers who were African American and those who had lower income, no Medicaid, and lower education level breastfed less frequently. Findings may be used to decrease neonatal, postnatal, and infant morbidity and mortality, and to increase breastfeeding knowledge and support to ensure successful breastfeeding of preterm infants beyond the hospital.