Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Supervisor

Dr. Shauna Burke

Abstract

Exclusive breastfeeding is associated with numerous health benefits for both mother and child, and is recommended for the first 6 months of an infant’s life. The purpose of this prospective study was to examine, using a survey-based design, the breastfeeding practices, self-efficacy, and perceived barriers and facilitators of primiparous mothers in London, Ontario. A total of 71 women (Mage = 30.0, SD = 4.3) participated in the study. Women (breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding) were asked to complete online surveys at three time points: < 4 weeks postpartum, 3 months postpartum, and 6 months postpartum. Results indicated that rates of exclusive breastfeeding decreased over time, whereas partial and non-breastfeeding rates increased. Women in the exclusive breastfeeding category reported the greatest levels of breastfeeding self-efficacy at all time points. Lastly, participants identified a number of breastfeeding-related facilitators (e.g., partner support, community services) and barriers (e.g., insufficient milk supply, latching difficulties).