The association of prenatal media marketing exposure recall with breastfeeding intentions, initiation, and duration

J Hum Lact. 2013 Nov;29(4):500-9. doi: 10.1177/0890334413487256. Epub 2013 May 17.


Background: Infant formula marketing, either directly to consumers or through health care providers, may influence women's breastfeeding intentions, initiation, and duration. However, little is known about the impact of different types of media marketing on infant feeding intentions and behavior.

Objective: This study investigated whether different types of recalled prenatal media marketing exposure to formula and breastfeeding information are related to breastfeeding intentions and behavior.

Methods: Data were from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II, a longitudinal study from pregnancy through the infants' first year. Sample sizes ranged from 1384 to 2530. Negative binomial, logistic regression, and survival models were used to examine associations between recalled prenatal exposure to formula or breastfeeding information and breastfeeding intentions and behavior.

Results: Exposure to infant formula information from print media was associated with shorter intended duration of exclusive breastfeeding, and formula information from websites was related to lower odds of both intended and actual initiation. Exposure to breastfeeding information from websites was related to higher odds of both intended and actual initiation and longer intended duration of any breastfeeding. Breastfeeding information from print media was associated with longer duration of any breastfeeding, but information from broadcast media was associated with shorter duration of any breastfeeding.

Conclusion: Mothers who recall exposure to formula information from print or websites are more likely to intend to use formula or to intend to use formula earlier and are less likely to initiate breastfeeding than mothers who do not recall seeing such information.

Keywords: breast milk substitutes; breastfeeding; breastfeeding outcomes; breastfeeding promotion; exclusive breastfeeding; infant formula; media marketing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Breast Feeding
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intention*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Marketing / methods*
  • Mass Media*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers*
  • Pregnancy
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult