Objective: To explore relationships between university students' infant feeding knowledge, attitudes, breastfeeding exposures, and future infant feeding intentions.
Design: Descriptive cross-sectional survey.
Setting: This study was conducted at a large publicly funded university in Hong Kong. Student enrollment in the university is approximately 15,000.
Participants: Four hundred three male and female Chinese university students. Participants were young (94.4% less than 25 years of age), undergraduate students (92.2%), unmarried (99.2%), and without children (100%).
Results: Sixty-three percent of participants wanted their future child to be breastfed. Infant feeding knowledge scores ranged from 28.6% to 100%, with a mean of 71.1% (SD= 13.3), indicating overall high knowledge levels. Participants who intended to breastfeed were more likely to have positive attitudes, to have been breastfed themselves, or to know someone who had breastfed.
Conclusions: The results provide information to health care providers on the planning of effective breastfeeding promotion programs. Findings from this study suggest that promoting breastfeeding solely to childbearing couples is unlikely to result in significant improvements in either breastfeeding initiation or duration. Future infant feeding campaigns should be directed at the societal level to change negative attitudes and to increase acceptance of breastfeeding as a normal and natural feeding method.