Personal preferences and ethnic variations among anglo and hispanic breast and bottle feeders

Susan C. Weller, Claibourne I. Dungy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The preferences of Spanish-speaking Hispanics and English-speaking Anglos for breast and bottle feeding were evaluated using marketing research techniques. Preliminary interviews with 55 mothers conducted within the first 48 hr post-partum elicited a list of verbatim responses regarding the positive and negative aspects of both feeding methods. An additional 195 women rank-ordered the most frequently mentioned statements in terms of their preference for each. Socio-demographic data on the mothers were analyzed with chi-square analysis and discriminant analysis. Multidimensional scaling was used to assess the preferred characteristics of breast and bottle feeding. Results indicated that most mothers prefer a method of infant feeding that allows the mother to be 'closer to her baby' and allows the baby to 'grow up healthier.' Bottle feeders perceived bottle feeding to be superior because it insured that baby would be 'full and satisfied' and would 'get all the vitamins and nutrients it needed,' especially when 'mother was not eating right" or was 'on medications'. Analysis of cultural preference patterns revealed that there exists a strong culture pattern or preference for breast feeding and its characteristics among Anglos. In contrast, the Hispanics show no clear preference for either breast or bottle feeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-548
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • Hispanics
  • breast feeding
  • intracultural variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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