Differences in the Perceived Understanding of Common Breastfeeding Misconceptions among Adults Pursuing an Undergraduate College Degree
Erin M. McKinley, PhD, RD, LDN, CLC, CHES

Background: To assess differences in perceived understanding of common misconceptions and misunderstandings about breastfeeding and breast milk use/safety among a sample of college students. Methods: A convenience sample of 776 students, mean age of 23.01(5.54) years, from one public university in the southern United States completed the 68-item online questionnaire that contained a breastfeeding knowledge/understanding scale created specifically for this study. Results: The sample had a mean general breastfeeding knowledge scale score of 175.58 (23.46) indicating a relatively low level of knowledge and understanding of breastfeeding and lactation. Students who were either older than 22 years of age, married, female, Caucasian, were not breastfed as children, or had previous experience with breastfeeding a child had significantly higher mean knowledge scores related to common breastfeeding and breast milk misconceptions. Conclusion: This sample of college students had a relatively low level of breastfeeding knowledge and understanding of common breastfeeding misconceptions. Traditional college-age undergraduates (18-21) who are more likely to be unmarried would benefit from having some exposure to education about breastfeeding and lactation. Young, influential groups of people who could perpetuate a strong, sustainable, and supportive culture around breastfeeding for future generations should be the focus of efforts to improve breastfeeding rates.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijhs.v9n1a12