Public Opinions on Substance Use While Breastfeeding

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Student Presentation

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Faculty Sponsor

Jennifer Weaver


This study explores outcome of a survey taken by entry-level college students concerning family studies with focus on public opinion of mother-infant bonding, specifically through opinions on breastfeeding in conjunction with substance use. Few studies done in the past have investigated public opinion on substance use while breastfeeding whereas pregnancy and substance use are commonly studied. According to Coleman-Cowger, women using substances during their pregnancy is a widely acknowledged public health concern, the likes of which can have negative effects on the mother and child (2011). We hoped to discover if there are any significant relationships between demographic variables on our questionnaire and substance use questions by exploring the variables of age, gender, ethnicity, relationship status, income, and whether or not participant is a parent with participant opinions of use of caffeine, nicotine, marijuana, illicit drugs and alcohol while pregnant or breastfeeding. Using Chi Square analysis, we found significant associations between the variables as follows: gender and caffeine consumption while pregnant; gender and caffeine consumption while breastfeeding; gender and marijuana use while breastfeeding; gender and illicit drug use while breastfeeding; gender and over-the-counter drug use while pregnant; ethnicity and smoking while breastfeeding; ethnicity and illicit drug use while pregnant; income and consuming alcohol while pregnant; and parental status and consumption of energy drinks while pregnant. These findings suggest that demographic characteristics influence choices made while pregnant and feeding, whether it is breast or formula feeding. Future research could be used to further explore public opinions dealing with breastfeeding and substance abuse in more detail. Researchers could also study the biological relationship between breastfeeding and demographic factors addressed above with regard to choice and opinions.

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