Psychosocial and Sociodemographic Contributors to Breastfeeding Intention in First-Time Mothers

for the NuMoM2b study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Breastfeeding has multiple benefits for women and babies. Understanding factors contributing to intention to exclusively breastfeed may allow for improving the rates in first-time mothers. The study objective was to examine factors associated with a woman’s intention to breastfeed her first child. Methods: A secondary analysis of the prospective “Nulliparous Pregnancy Outcomes Study: monitoring mothers-to-be” (nuMoM2b) study of nulliparous women in the U.S. with singleton pregnancies was performed. Sociodemographic and psychosocial factors were analyzed for associations with breastfeeding intention. Results: For the 6443 women with complete information about breastfeeding intention and all factors under consideration, women who intended to breastfeed (either exclusively or any breastfeeding) were more likely to be older, not black, have reached a higher level of education, have higher incomes, have a lower body mass index (BMI), and be nonsmokers. Reporting a planned pregnancy and several psychosocial measures were also associated with intention to breastfeed. In the multivariable analysis for exclusive breastfeeding, in addition to age, BMI, race, income, education, and smoking, of the psychosocial measures assessed, only women with higher hassle intensity ratios on the Pregnancy Experience Scale had lower odds of exclusive breastfeeding intention (OR 0.71, 95% CI 0.55–0.92). Other psychosocial measures were not associated with either exclusive breastfeeding or any breastfeeding after controlling for demographic characteristics. Conclusions for Practice: Several sociodemographic factors, having a planned pregnancy, and fewer intense pregnancy hassles compared to uplifts are associated with intention to exclusively breastfeed. Identifying these factors may allow providers to identify women for focused, multilevel efforts to enhance breastfeeding rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1047-1056
Number of pages10
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding intention
  • Nulliparous women
  • Pregnancy experience scale
  • Psychosocial measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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