How motivation influences breastfeeding duration among low-income women

Elizabeth F. Racine, Kevin Frick, Donna Strobino, Laura Carpenter, Renee Milligan, Linda Pugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


In-depth interviews were conducted with 44 low-income breastfeeding women to explore the incentives and disincentives to breastfeeding experienced within 6 months postpartum. Using an individual net benefit maximization (INBM) framework based on economic theory, we assessed women's motivations, incentives, and disincentives for breastfeeding. Based on the framework and their experience breastfeeding, women fell into 3 groups: intrinsically motivated, extrinsically motivated, and successfully experienced with both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Successfully experienced women were most likely to breastfeed to 6 months. Intrinsically motivated women valued breastfeeding but often required information and instruction to reach breastfeeding goals. Extrinsically motivated women were least likely to continue breastfeeding even with support and instruction. Providers can screen women to determine their experience and motivation then tailor interventions accordingly. Intrinsically motivated women may need support and instruction, extrinsically motivated women may benefit from motivational interviewing, and successfully experienced women may need only minimal breastfeeding counseling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-181
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Breastfeeding duration
  • Low-income

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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