Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Andrea Jennings-Sanders


Breast milk is the optimal source of nourishment for babies, providing positive nutritional and psychosocial benefits for infants' growth and development. Rates for initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months in the United States are well below the target rates for the Healthy People 2020 Maternal, Infant, and Children's Health objectives. Using Ajzen's theory of planned behavior, the purpose of this project was to ascertain how knowledge and attitudes influenced a mother's intent to breastfeed during her hospital stay and the likelihood of exclusive breastfeeding continuing after discharge. A convenience sample of 68 postpartum mothers was recruited from women who delivered a viable infant between January and March 2017 at a large urban teaching hospital. Mothers completed the 17-question 5-point Likert scale instrument, the Iowa Infant Feeding Attitude Scale, and demographic information before discharge from the hospital. Mothers who planned to breastfeed and mothers who did not plan to breastfeed scored above the midpoint on the scale; however, women who intended to breastfeed after discharge scored significantly higher (p < .001). Demographic variables were not significant with the exception of education level. Women with higher education levels scored higher on the scale and were more likely to plan to breastfeed after discharge than women with lower levels of education. Findings may promote social change through development and implementation of tailored nursing interventions, such as community prenatal education and clinical reinforcement, which will support initiation of breastfeeding in the hospital setting and exclusivity of breastfeeding upon discharge.