Date of Award

Spring 3-5-2004

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Heather Bidinger

Second Advisor

Dawn B. Ludwig


Background Nutrition is essential to the health and development of infants and children' The American Academy of pediatrics, [the American Academy of Family Physicians] and the world Health organization recommend breast milk as the best form of nutrition for at least the first year of an infant's life due to the health benefits it provides children and mothers (American Academy of Family physicians, 2000, Pletta, Eglash, & Choby, 2000). Increasing the rates of both initiation of breastfeeding and duration of breastfeeding are national health objectives. Methods The research design is a prospective descriptive study. The study included 43 pregnant women who were receiving prenatal care at a small, private clinic in Buffalo, MN. The data was obtained using u-r*r-o.signed survey tool to assess the major factors that influence a woman's infant feeding decision. The purpose of this design was to determine the factors that influence a mother's decision on how she intends to feed her infant, find out breastfeeding an#or bottle initiation rates, as well as to determine the duration that women intend to breastfeed' Results significant results obtained indicated that in this community,465% of the pregnant women intended to breastfeed their infant for the first 4-6 months, 23.3% intended to formula feed, and 25.6% intended to use a combination. The majority of women, 65.go/o,made this infant feeding decision prior to pregnancy' of the women intending to breastfeed, 16.3% intended to continue for 2 months and 20'9% intended to breastfeed for 6 or 7 months. Most women (41.5%) reported that they received information regarding infant feeding choices from books. sixty percent of the women cite,c health benefits as being the number one reason why they choose breastfeeding' Conclusions The results obtained from this study place a high emphasis on the importance of educating both women and men on the benefits of breastmilk for their children' Due to the high number of women who make their infant feeding decision prior to pregnancy' healthcare providers need to find a way to educate these people before their first OB visit on the health benefits of breastmilk. The results also indicated that men have a big influence on their partner,s decision to breastfeed or formula feed. breastmilk encouragement needs to be directed towards both men and woman at a young age in order to increase breastfeeding initiation rates to meet national health goals.


SC 11.PAS.2004.Kennedy.MR