Background: Breastfeeding rates in Scotland are very low, particularly in the more disadvantaged areas. Despite a number of interventions to promote breastfeeding very few women actually intend to breastfeed their baby. The aim of this study was to identify personal and social factors independently associated with intention to breastfeed.
Methods: Nine hundred and ninety seven women from two socio-economically disadvantaged housing estates located on the outskirts of Glasgow participated in a study that aimed to increase the prevalence of breastfeeding. Self-administered questionnaires completed by each participant collected information in early pregnancy, prior to exposure to the study intervention, on feeding intention, previous feeding experience and socio-demographic data.
Results: Five factors were independently predictive of breastfeeding intention. These were previous breastfeeding experience, living with a partner, smoking, parity and maternal age. After adjusting for these five factors, neither deprivation nor receipt of milk tokens provided useful additional predictive information.
Conclusion: In this population of socially disadvantaged pregnant women we identified five variables that were independently predictive of breastfeeding intention. These variables could be useful in identifying women at greatest risk of choosing not to breastfeed. Appropriate promotional efforts could then be designed to give due consideration to individual circumstances.