Characteristics of teenage mothers and predictors of breastfeeding initiation in the Michigan Wic Program in 1995

Yik Yung Park, Emily Rose Meier, Won O. Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Although breast milk is recommended as the optimal source of infant nutrition, breastfeeding initiation is below recommended levels, especially among teenage mothers. Breastfeeding initiation rates among Michigan (US) teenage mothers (12-19 y) were compared by demographics and health behaviors. Multivariate analyses determined which factors were significant independent predictors of breastfeeding initiation among teenage mothers enrolled prenatally in the Michigan Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program in 1995. Significant predictors independently associated with breastfeeding initiation were raceethnicity, education, marital status, postpartum anemia status, parity, prenatal trimester of WIC enrollment, and smoking. The strongest predictor of breastfeeding initiation differed for white mothers (positive predictor: education beyond high school [OR = 3.13]) and black mothers (negative predictor: multiparous [OR = 0.25]). Initiation rates for this population of teenage mothers fall below the national average for mothers of all ages and the US Healthy People 2010 goals. Research is needed concerning how breastfeeding support and education can be improved to reach the US national health goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003


  • Breastfeeding initiation
  • Low income
  • Teenage mothers
  • WIC


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