"Breast Is Best": Knowledge among Low-Income Mothers Is Not Enough

Deena R. Zimmerman, Nurit Guttman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The beliefs of low-income mothers regarding breastfeeding compared to formula feeding, according to feeding method, were investigated. Interviews were conducted with 154 women who were assigned to one of two groups. Four health benefits of breastfeeding were rated significantly higher than for infant formula within both the breastfeeding (BF) and formula-feeding (FF) groups. Breastfeeding was seen as less convenient than formula feeding by the FF group (x̄ = 2.3 ± 1.7 versus 3.8 ± 1.5 for formula feeding and breastfeeding, respectively; P < .001). Both groups rated formula feeding as more likely to enable others to help in infant care, easier in terms of the mother's time control, and less likely to tie the mother down than breastfeeding. The findings show that, despite formula-feeding mothers' beliefs in the health benefits of breastfeeding, they perceive that it limits their activities. Therefore, breastfeeding promotion must address not only benefits but also lifestyle issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-19
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Breastfeeding attitudes
  • Breastfeeding promotion


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