Sources of Influence on Intention to Breastfeed among African-American Women at Entry to WIC

Margaret E. Bentley, Laura E. Caulfield, Susan M. Gross, Yvonne Bronner, Joan Jensen, Lisa A. Kessler, David M. Paige

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


To examine how individuals within a woman's life influence her infant feeding intention, we interviewed 441 African-American women on the breastfeeding attitudes and experiences of their friends, relatives, mother, and the baby's father. Women were interviewed at entry into prenatal care at clinics associated with one of four Baltimore WIC clinics chosen for a breastfeeding promotion project. Qualitative data were also collected among 80 women. Friends and "other" relatives were not influential. Grandmothers' opinions and experiences were important, but their influence was reduced after considering the opinion of the baby's father. The opinion of the woman's doctor was an independent predictor of infant feeding intention. Breastfeeding promotion programs should recognize the separate influence of fathers, health providers, and grandmothers in women's infant feeding decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • African American
  • Breastfeeding
  • Infant feeding
  • WIC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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