Exploring Greater Rates of Breastfeeding Among Civilian Military Wives

Nicole Ringo, Sheila M. Gephart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To explore factors contributing to the greater rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration among civilian military wives (e.g., legally married to an active-duty spouse) and to determine what might be learned from these factors for intervention design for the broader population of women in the postpartum period. Design: The study was conducted online using a concurrent mixed-methods design. Setting: National and International U.S. military bases. Participants: The sample consisted of 28 civilian military wives whose ages ranged from 18 to 45 years. Interventions/Measurements: The Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Scale–Short Form and semistructured interviews. Results: Breastfeeding self-efficacy was high among civilian military wives. Seven main themes with 16 subthemes emerged from the descriptions of the semistructured interviews. The results of the integrative analysis showed that factors within the military environment influence a sense of community and that there were supportive and pro-breastfeeding health care facilitators (especially lactation consultants). Conclusion: Civilian military wives described breastfeeding facilitators who they believed promote their greater rates of breastfeeding initiation and continuation, quantified their high level of breastfeeding self-efficacy, and identified descriptive factors that contributed to both areas, topics that are lacking in the literature among this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-20
Number of pages11
JournalNursing for Women's Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • breastfeeding
  • breastfeeding self-efficacy
  • civilian military wives
  • concurrent mixed methods
  • human milk feeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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