Predictors of Breastfeeding Intention Among Low-Income Women

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Community Health Sciences


Objective: Breastfeeding rates are below the Healthy People 2010 goals despite recognized benefits of breastfeeding. This study determined factors that predict breastfeeding initiation among low-income pregnant women. Methods: A self-administered closed-ended questionnaire was introduced to 694 pregnant women who were certified for WIC in Mississippi. The questionnaire collected data about demographics, breastfeeding intention, breastfeeding knowledge, self-efficacy, and three recognized barriers to breastfeeding: embarrassment, time and social constraints, and lack of social support. Results: In bivariate analysis, women who intended to breastfeed were more often white and had at least some college education, higher income, a smaller family size, fewer children, and previous breastfeeding experience than women who did not intend to breastfeed. Intenders had higher levels of breastfeeding knowledge and self-efficacy and reported fewer barriers to breastfeeding than nonintenders. In multivariate logistic regression, fewer children, past breastfeeding experience, breastfeeding knowledge, self-efficacy, and perceived social support were independent predictors of breastfeeding intention. Conclusions: Women at high risk for not wanting to breastfeed can be identified for additional support. Interventions should focus on improving breastfeeding knowledge, enhancing confidence in one's ability to breastfeed, and overcoming barriers to breastfeeding, especially lack of social support, among low-income women.

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Maternal and Child Health Journal





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