Student Author(s)

Rebecca Chema, Hope College

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Anita Esquerra-Zwiers, Nursing; Dr. Emilie Dykstra Goris, Nursing

Document Type


Event Date



Breastfeeding is the gold standard for infant nutrition, providing benefits to both infants and mothers. According to the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), a mother’s breastfeeding intention is directly related to the following antecedents: attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control. The purpose of this descriptive, prospective study was to examine the relationship between antecedents and breastfeeding intentions and behavior at 60 days postpartum utilizing three online questionnaires administered prior to birth and at 10 and 60 days postpartum. The baseline questionnaire measured participants’ attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control toward breastfeeding intentions, while day 10 and day 60 questionnaires measured breastfeeding behaviors. Participants included 52 women residing in West Michigan who were English literate, 21+ years, at least 37 weeks pregnant, and intending to breastfeed. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 21. Participants were a mean age of 31 years, 96% (n=50) married, 80% (n=42) insured privately, and 78% (n=41) multipara. There was a significant positive correlation among maternal attitudes (r(52)=.452, p<.05) and perceived behavioral control (r(52)=.330, p<.05) and maternal intention to exclusively breastfeed at 3 months. Subjective norms and maternal intention to exclusively breastfeed at 3 months were not significantly correlated (r(52)=.242, p=.09). There was no significant association between maternal intention to exclusively breastfeed at 3 months and breastfeeding behavior at day 60 postpartum (x2=2.70, p=.23). Limitations included a small convenience sample of predominantly married, affluent, White women. Nursing interventions should foster positive breastfeeding attitudes and establish supportive measures to promote perceived behavioral control among breastfeeding mothers.


This work was supported by the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation and by the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation.

Included in

Nursing Commons