Nurse-Midwifery M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Wu, Katrina

Second Reader

Renee Clark


Abstract Introduction: Breastfeeding is the optimal feeding method for infants and confers numerous health benefits to mothers and their children. Nevertheless, despite overwhelming data supporting breastfeeding, breastfeeding rates remain suboptimal within the adolescent demographic. Research Aim: To identify facilitators and barriers to improving breastfeeding success and outcomes in adolescent mothers. Methods: A keyword search of the literature was conducted using the PubMed, CINAHL, and SCOPUS databases. Citation searching and a hand search of 3 relevant journals were also undertaken, yielding 21 original studies that met all inclusion and exclusion criteria. Relevant study demographics and findings were extracted and organized according to the designated levels of the socio-ecological model. Results: Findings from 313,220 breastfeeding adolescent mothers demonstrated that awareness of health benefits, perceived affordability, convenience, intention to breastfeed, and family, peer, and partner support remained critical. Additional findings revealed the importance of professional, transparent, and ongoing breastfeeding education and guidance. Conversely, physical discomfort, perception of low milk supply, balancing competing societal roles, and negative peer and partner input hampered the breastfeeding success of teen mothers. Discussion: This review discovered that the vast majority of current research focused on the individual, interpersonal, and organizational levels. Opportunities exist for developing and evaluating school programs, community lactation resource planning, and public policy advocacy efforts to improve breastfeeding in this vulnerable population.

Degree Name

M.S. Nurse-Midwifery

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis