Intent to Breastfeed and Evaluation of Culturally Sensitive Education in a Migrant Pacific Islander Population

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breastfeeding, Pacific Islander Americans, migrants, exclusive breastfeeding, breastfeeding education



The Marshallese, a Pacific Islander population, are a growing migrant population in the United States. Breastfeeding is the preferred method of infant feeding, but many cultural barriers deter exclusive breastfeeding. A culturally sensitive education intervention was implemented to meet the needs of the Marshallese population in a postpartum setting.


This study aimed to evaluate the impact of an education intervention, in native language, on breastfeeding rates among Marshallese mothers during hospitalization.


This quasi-experimental study was a retrospective data analysis of a quality improvement project in a hospital seeking Baby-Friendly status. Randomized record reviews of Marshallese mothers receiving the culturally targeted education (N = 40) between the ages of 18 and 45, delivering between 37 and 42 weeks gestation, were compared with mothers prior to implementation of the education (N = 40).


Birthweight, discharge weight, and delivery method were not statistically different. No statistical difference existed between feeding intent and discharge feeding behavior.


Exclusive breastfeeding rates among Marshallese mothers are lower than desired. Culturally appropriate breastfeeding education in a hospital setting may not affect feeding patterns, but clarification is needed on cultural definitions of exclusive breastfeeding. Further studies are needed.