Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Health, Physical Education, and Recreation

Committee Chair(s)

Julie Gast


Julie Gast


Phillip Waite


D. Kim Openshaw


Breastfeeding is considered to be the optimal choice of infant feeding methods, yet the rates of breastfeeding are consistently lower than national recommendations despite efforts to reverse this trend. Designing effective interventions to increase breastfeeding requires a thorough understanding of the women who choose to breastfeed their infants as well as those who do not choose this infant feeding method. In order to determine which demographic factors predicted breastfeeding in the early postpartum period in Utah women, 600 'intercept interviews' were conducted in the spring and early summer of 2007. Women included in the study were 18 years or older and had an infant who was 6 weeks to 1 year old. Participants were 18-42 years old, and reported having between one and six children. Participants were recruited from public areas in Salt Lake City, such as shopping malls, parks, and civic venues. Information from 588 interviews was included in the analysis. Data analysis was conducted using STATA 9.0. Univariate analysis was first conducted to determine if a significant relationship existed between breastfeeding at 6 weeks postpartum and the demographic factors. Univariate analysis determined that a statistically significant (p < 0.05) relationship existed between breastfeeding in the early postpartum period and the following demographic factors: age, marital status, WIC participation, maternal education level, and maternal employment. Univariate analysis failed to find a statistically significant relationship between breastfeeding in the early postpartum period and parity. Next, simple logistic regression was conducted to determine the strength and direction of any significant relationship. Finally, multiple logistic regression with backward elimination was performed to determine whether factors differed across age strata. Multiple regression analysis found that, when stratified by age, maternal education was found to be significant in both the younger (18-25 years) age group (OR = .56; 95% CI = .43, .71) and the older (26-42 years) age group (OR = 1.54; 95% CI = 1.28, 1.86). The effects of education on breastfeeding at 6 weeks postpartum differed across age groups in a statistically significant way, as determined by a chi square test (p = 0.00). More research is needed to fully understand the relationship between demographic factors and breastfeeding in the early postpartum period.



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