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Breastfeeding, Mothers, Postpartum period, Psychological distress, Self-efficacy



  1. Korth, Christina X. BS
  2. Keim, Sarah A. PhD
  3. Crerand, Canice E. PhD
  4. Jackson, Jamie L. PhD


Purpose: Develop a measure to quantitatively assess perceived pressure to breastfeed and examine associations between perceived pressure, emotional distress, and the breastfeeding experience and self-efficacy among women with 2- to 6-month-old infants.


Study Design and Methods: A cross-sectional study using an online survey to assess perceived pressure to breastfeed, emotional distress, and the breastfeeding experience and self-efficacy was conducted. Participants were recruited through ResearchMatch, a national online service that matches potential participants to research studies, and online community forums (e.g., Facebook).


Results: Women (n = 187) reported themselves and society as the greatest sources of pressure. Pressure to breastfeed was negatively associated with the breastfeeding experience (r = -.34, p < .01) and self-efficacy (r = -.39, p < .01), but not emotional distress. Pressure to breastfeed remained a significant explanatory factor, even when considering demographic covariates, with the final models accounting for 16% and 20% of the variance in the breastfeeding experience and self-efficacy, respectively.


Clinical Implications: Perceived pressure to breastfeed may be an important psychosocial factor to consider when aiming to improve women's breastfeeding experiences. Reducing perceived pressure may be beneficial for promoting breastfeeding outcomes.