Diane Godson

Date of Submission



Decision making could be defined as the ability to make a choice or a judgement before an individual takes action. How the individual works through the process of making a decision is influenced by a number of factors. It is acknowledged decision making is a complex process that involves cognitive and affective thought processing, together with interpretation, understanding, choosing between alternatives and taking action. The steps involved in this process are varied and range from a few to many depending on whose literature one is reading at the time. This descriptive cross sectional study aimed to determine what factors influenced a woman's decision when choosing the infant feeding method for her newborn. The information was gathered by means of a survey questionnaire and follow-up telephone interview. The factors identified as being important or influencing the decision were included on the survey. These factors were highlighted in previous studies and were considered part of the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) the framework on which this study was based. The one hundred and sixteen women who participated in this study had delivered term babies - that is babies over thirty-seven weeks gestation, in two hospitals in metropolitan Melbourne. A number of assumptions were tested. The descriptive statistics was generated using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 7. The qualitative data was analysed using thematic analysis. Eighty-five per cent (85%) of the women in this study made the decision to breastfeed and seventy-five per cent (75%) made this decision prior to their pregnancy being confirmed. Ninety-seven (83.6%) of the women stated their own values and beliefs had a major influence (i) on their infant feeding decision with just over twenty per cent (20.2%) of the women indicating the midwife had a major influence on their decision.;Results of data supported or refuted the assumptions made at the beginning of the study and previous studies. These results also identified areas in midwifery practice that require change. This in itself will be a challenge for midwives. How they respond to this challenge may have an impact of the way women make the decision regarding their choice of infant feeding


School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


156 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Health Sciences