Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 90, Issue 2, pp 114–119 | Cite as

Factors Influencing Infant Feeding Practices of Mothers in Vancouver

  • Patricia L. Williams
  • Sheila M. Innis
  • A. M. P. Vogel
  • Loraina J. Stephen


This study describes factors influencing infant feeding choices of 434 mothers with 9-month-old infants in Vancouver. Consistent with Social Cognitive Theory, both internal personal and socio-environmental factors influence infant feeding choices. Mothers attributed the choice to breastfeed primarily to personal choice, whereas the choice to formula feed was attributed to socio-environmental factors. Among mothers who breastfed <3 months, the choice to wean was primarily attributed to concern for baby’s nutrition; compared to returning to work, concern about milk supply and concern for baby’s nutrition among those who breastfed ≥3 to <6 months; and returning to work and personal choice among those who breastfed ≥6 months. Among Caucasian mothers, the choice to wean was primarily attributed to returning to work, compared to concern for baby’s nutrition among non-Caucasian mothers. Initiatives to facilitate further advances in breastfeeding promotion could address three areas: 1) prenatal intentions, 2) early postpartum concerns, and 3) later issues surrounding returning to work and infant nutrition.


Cette étude décrit les facteurs influant sur les choix en matière d’alimentation faits par 434 mères de nourissons âgés de 9 mois. Conformément à la théorie cognitive sociale, des facteurs personnels et socio-environnementaux influent sur les choix en matière d’alimentation des nourissons. Les mères attribuent principalement le fait d’allaiter à un choix personnel tandis que l’alimentation au moyen de préparations est attribué à des facteurs socioenvironnementaux. La principale raison motivant le sevrage était le souci de l’alimentation du bébé, comparativement au retour au travail, chez les mères ayant allaité durant moins de 3 mois; le souci par rapport à la qualité du lait et l’alimentation du bébé chez celles ayant allaité pendant une période de 3 à 6 mois; et le retour au travail et un choix personnel parmi celles qui avaient allaité pendant 6 mois ou plus. Parmi les mères de race blanche, le retour au travail était la principale motivation comparativement au souci de l’alimentation du bébé chez les mères des autres races. Des initiatives visant à faciliter la promotion de l’allaitement au sein pourraient répondre aux trois questions suivantes: les intentions des mères avant l’accouchement, les problèmes survenant lors des premiers jours du post-partum et finalement les questions relatives au retour en milieu de travail et à l’alimentation des enfants.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia L. Williams
    • 1
  • Sheila M. Innis
    • 1
  • A. M. P. Vogel
    • 2
  • Loraina J. Stephen
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PaediatricsUniversity of British Columbia, B.C. Research Institute for Child and Family HealthVancouverCanada
  2. 2.City of Vancouver Health DepartmentVancouverCanada
  3. 3.School of Family and Nutritional SciencesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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