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Florida Public Health Review

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Abstract

To examine whether a mother’s social support system influences decision to breastfeed, pregnant women and women who had children, from six north Florida counties, were asked to participate in this study. Women were recruited from local lactation support groups and agencies serving mothers and children. Participants were administered a 34-item questionnaire that asked about motivation, social support and intention. Mothers breastfed because they believed breast milk was healthier for the baby. These mothers identified the baby’s fathers as being most supportive, but felt they needed more support from the fathers. Interestingly, most women strongly agreed that whereas the support system was important, the decision to breastfeed was still ultimately theirs. The decision to discontinue breastfeeding was not due to lack of support, but because of the need to return to work or school. Breastfeeding interventions should focus on social support networks that include the father.

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