Follow Through on the Intent to Breastfeed: The Impact of Non-Parental Child Care


Across educational and professional disciplines, breastfeeding is recognized as the preferred method of infant feeding. Human milk boasts a wide array of benefits over infant formula for both the mother and child. Research has also found that breastfeeding has been consistently linked to reductions in the risk for overweight and obesity across the lifespan. Although studies have shown there is a dose-response relationship between breastfeeding and beneficial outcomes, there is a discrepancy between initiation of breastfeeding and duration. Something is causing mothers who have clear intentions to breastfeed to cease following through on that intent, especially for those mothers who work outside the home and their infants are enrolled in non-parental child care settings.

While the workplace has been cited as a significant barrier to breastfeeding facilitation and much reform in that area has been proposed, the natural complement to that barrier, child care, has been much less scrutinized. The purpose of this study is to examine mothers’ perceptions of the facilitators and barriers to their ability to follow through on the intent to breastfeed their infants once the transition to non-parental child care is made. A goal of the project is to generate initial insight on potential factors within the child care context that can be targeted to facilitate greater levels of breastfeeding among infants in non-parental care situations.

Downloadable Overview

Follow Through on the Intent to Breastfeed Overview PDF

Research Team

  • Brent McBride, PhD, Principal Investigator, Director, Child Development Lab, Human Development and Family Studies
  • Sharon Donovan, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator, RD, Professor, Nutritional Sciences
  • Alexandra Lundquist, Co-Principal Investigator, Graduate Student, Nutritional Sciences


  • I-TOPP Seed Grant
  • University of Illinois Research Board


Brent A. McBride
Principal Investigator
Phone: 217-333-0971