Breastfeeding Beliefs, Attitiudes, and Experiences of Rural Native American Women


JoAnne Blue

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Breastfeeding has long been recognized as the preferred method of feeding. There is an increasing awareness of the need to return to traditions and values such as breastfeeding, which has been part of the Indian culture in the past. The purpose of this descriptive, correlational study was to determine the attitudes, beliefs, and experiences of breastfeeding among rural Native American women. Ajzen and Fishbein's (1080) Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and Leininger’s theory of Culture Care Diversity and Universality (1991) guided this study.

This study addressed the following questions: 1) What are the attitudes, beliefs and experiences of native American women regarding breastfeedng? 2) Are there differences in breastfeeding attitudes and beliefs between women with and without personal breastfeeding experience? 3) Are there relationships among breastfeeding attitudes and beliefs?

Data were collected from a convenience sample of 60 women enrolled in or working at a rural northcentral community college using the Minnesota Infant Feeding Questionnaire (MIFQ). Women who participated in this study, breastfed at a slightly lower rate than the current North Dakota rate. Native women who breastfed, tended toward a pattern of exclusive breastfeeding. They also nursed their subsequent children longer, and to greater degrees of satisfaction.

Most respondents had witnessed a family friend breastfeeding and agreed that it was most natural to breastfeed in the childs home. Most felt that breastfeeding was healthy, natural and pleasant to do. In addition, breastfeeding saves money and breastmilk is best for the babies teeth.

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