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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Decision making surrounding human milk donation : attitudes, subjective norms and barriers Grunert, Damaris


Although milk from the milk bank is the medically preferred choice when a mother’s own milk is not available (Kim, Unger, Canadian Pediatric Society [CPS] & Nutrition and Gastroenterology Committee, 2010), it is frequently in short supply and new donors are always needed (BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, 2018). There is no published literature on attitudes, subjective norms and barriers surrounding breastfeeding and human milk donation nor how these constructs influence intention to donate within the context of mothers in British Columbia (BC). Seven hundred fifty-four women residing in BC, with a child 24 months old and younger, were recruited for this internet based study examining attitudes, subjective norms and barriers in relation to intention to donate human milk to the BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank. These participants were recruited through multiple methods including: one on one requests to fill out a survey at 16 public health units where posters and advertisements were placed; an invitation in Fraser Health’s Best Beginnings e-Newsletter; snowball sampling through online Facebook community groups; and one of the researcher’s Twitter accounts. Analysis included ANOVAs, Chi-square analyses and hierarchical logistic regressions. Overall results indicated a positive attitude and subjective norms toward human milk and the Milk Bank. The logistic regression results showed that those who scored themselves as likely to donate to the Milk Bank believed that human milk banking is important; believed other mothers have donated; scored high on the ease of donation scale; had one child; and had previously shared milk. Sub-analysis of mothers who were breastfeeding at the time of the study, revealed similar results. Mothers who indicated human milk banking is important and scored high on the ease of donation scale more often rated themselves as likely to donate. The results of this study allow policy makers and healthcare providers to focus their recruitment efforts on facilitators that would increase intention to donate. Further research on specific barriers to human milk donation is needed.

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