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Birth. 1995 Jun;22(2):74-80.

What predicts breastfeeding intention in Mexican-American and non-Hispanic white women? Evidence from a national survey.


We examined the effects of a series of predictors on the prepartum intention to breastfeed in both Mexican-American and non-Hispanic white women. A national sample included 430 Mexican-American women and 3659 non-Hispanic white women who had a pregnancy in 1988. Prenatal behavioral, sociodemographic, and biomedical information was obtained through the 1988 National Maternal and Infant Health Survey. Two dependent variables were constructed to identify significant predictors of breastfeeding intention: exclusive versus partial and bottle-feeding, and exclusive and partial versus bottle-feeding. Results from the multiple logistic regression models indicated that advice to breastfeed at prenatal care was the strongest predictor of intentions in both Mexican-American (OR = 2.15, OR = 1.86) and non-Hispanic white mothers (OR = 2.29, OR = 3.61). In Mexican-Americans the father's being Hispanic was negatively associated with breastfeeding intention (OR = 0.63). In non-Hispanic whites the advice to formula feed at the Women, Infants, and Children's nutrition program was a significant negative predictor of breastfeeding intention (OR = 0.33, for exclusive and partial breastfeeding vs exclusive bottle-feeding). These results have important implications for public health policy and practice.

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