Breastfeeding Intentions Among Pregnant Adolescents and Young Adults and Their Partners
Sipsma, Heather L.
Divney, Anna A.
PublisherMary Ann Liebert
MetadataShow full item record
BACKGROUND: Rates of breastfeeding remain disproportionately low among young mothers in the United States. Although breastfeeding behavior may be most directly related to breastfeeding intention, little is known about breastfeeding intentions among young women who are expecting a baby. Subjects and METHODS: Pregnant adolescents and young adults (14-21 years old) and their male partners were recruited for participation. Females were asked if they intended to breastfeed, and their partners were asked if they wanted their partners to breastfeed; participants indicated reasons for their responses. Logistic regression modeling was used to determine the associations between breastfeeding intentions and sociodemographic characteristics, relationship characteristics, and partner's intention to breastfeed. RESULTS: Approximately 73% of females reported intending to breastfeed, and 80% of males reported wanting his partner to breastfeed, most commonly because it is "healthier for the baby" and "a more natural way to feed the baby." Sociodemographic and relationship characteristics explained a small amount of variance of breastfeeding intention (15% and 4% among females, respectively, and 8% and 4% among males, respectively). Partner intention explained an additional 23% and 24% of the variance in individual intention for females and males, respectively. Females who had experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) from their current partner had lower odds of intending to breastfeed (odds ratio=0.37; 95% confidence interval=0.16, 0.84). Race/ethnicity modified associations among both genders. CONCLUSIONS: These findings emphasize the importance of dyadic approaches and suggest strategies for improving breastfeeding intentions and behavior among young couples expecting a baby. These results are also among the first to document the relationship between IPV and breastfeeding intentions among young women.