Maternal attitudes as predictors of infant feeding decisions

J Assoc Acad Minor Phys. 1994;5(4):159-64.


To achieve the goal of Healthy People 2000 of increasing the rate and duration of breast-feeding in the United States, it is important to determine how maternal attitudes influence choice of infant feeding method. This study of postpartum women explores the extent to which maternal attitudes concerning process (how the baby is fed) and product (what the baby is fed) can predict the method of infant feeding during the hospital stay. A cross-sectional analysis of mothers' attitudes and infant feeding behavior was conducted. The participants included 216 mothers of infants less than 48 hours of age. Sociodemographic characteristics and maternal attitudes were analyzed to determine their ability to predict choice of feeding method. The results of the study indicate that maternal attitudes are better predictors of feeding method than are sociodemographic factors. These attitudinal variables, reflecting concerns over food intake, infant nutrition, and parental role, were most strongly related to choice of infant feeding method. The study indicates that maternal attitudes concerning the process and product dimensions of infant feeding provide valuable information regarding the women most likely to select either breast-feeding or formula-feeding. To increase the rate of breast-feeding, interventions should be developed that are consonant with positive maternal attitudes concerning the process and product dimensions of breast-feeding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Food*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Prognosis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Socioeconomic Factors