Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Ruth Zielinski

Second Advisor

Wendy Kershner


Breastfeeding, perception of insufficient milk, WIC


Objective: Our long term goal in the U.S. is to improve breastfeeding exclusivity and duration rates for low-income women receiving services from Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Women who receive WIC services breastfeed their infants for significantly shorter durations; improving their breastfeeding duration is a national priority. Many women cite the perception of insufficient milk (PIM) as the reason for early cessation of breastfeeding. However, the association between PIM and socioeconomic and demographic variables for low-income women has not been addressed in the literature. The purpose of this descriptive-correlational study was to examine maternal and infant factors related to the reason for discontinuing breastfeeding for 239 WIC participants.

Design: Secondary data analysis of existing longitudinal survey and administrative data

Setting: Chicago-area community health center and WIC clinic

Patients/Participants: 239 WIC participants who initiated breastfeeding

Methods: Selected components of the Interaction Model of Client Health Behavior (IMCHB) (Cox, 2003) guided the inclusion of potential predictors related to the reason for discontinuing breastfeeding. The authors used descriptive statistics and logistic regression to analyze how maternal and infant characteristics (demographic, social, health-related, environmental, motivational, cognitive, and affective) influenced the reason for breastfeeding cessation.

Results: Of the 239 women in this sample who provided a reason for stopping breastfeeding, 43% (n=l 11) reported PIM as the reason for discontinuing breastfeeding. The majority of women who reported PIM did so within the first three months of breastfeeding (55%). Women who reported PIM were more likely to be of Hispanic descent (OR 2.66, p=0.01, 95% CI 1.21- 5.83).

Conclusion/Implications for nursing practice: Although WIC women initiate breastfeeding, the national recommendation for breastfeeding duration is not being met in this population. Additionally, many women stop breastfeeding early due to a perception of insufficient milk. Findings from this study will be used to develop and test interventions to reduce the incidence of perceived insufficient milk and increase breastfeeding duration in this vulnerable population.


Powerpoints accompanying.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted

Access Agreement.pdf (1659 kB)
ScholarWorks Access Agreement

Certificate.pdf (389 kB)
Certificate of Defense

PIM poster Rebecca - Final-1.pptx (373 kB)
Rebecca H Presentation Scholarly Event Final.pptx (1398 kB)