, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 431–450 | Cite as

Why are teenagers in the United States less likely to breast-feed than older women?

  • Christine E. Peterson
  • Julie DaVanzo
Teenage reproduction


Teenage mothers are much less likely than older mothers to breastfeed their infants. The lower breastfeeding rate among teenagers aged 16–19, compared with women aged 20–29, is due almost entirely to the fact that teenage mothers tend to have characteristics associated with a lower likelihood of breastfeeding among all women, such as lower educational level, lower income, and being unmarried. Even so, nearly 40% of the difference between teenage mothers aged 15 or less and mothers aged 20–29 remains unexplained by these factors and may be due to developmental aspects of adolescence, such as greater egocentricity and greater concern about body image.


Teenage Mother Adolescent Mother Teenage Birth Black Mother Older Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine E. Peterson
    • 1
  • Julie DaVanzo
    • 1
  1. 1.RANDSanta Monica

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