Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Degree Level





Scott, Allison

Committee Member/Reader

Smith-Blair, Nan

Committee Member/Second Reader

Shreve, Marilou



Background. Multiple health disparities are associated with the Marshallese population in Northwest Arkansas. Childhood obesity, linked to a decrease in exclusive breastfeeding, is one of the predominant issues. Since their migration to the United States, exclusive breastfeeding rates of Marshallese mothers have steadily declined throughout the years. Little research has been conducted to help combat this growing health disparity. Due to the increased growth in this population in Northwest Arkansas, it is imperative that measures are taken to decrease these disparities to improve the overall health of the future generations.

Objective: To determine the relationship between maternal age, parity, length of hospital stay, and intent to feed on the mother’s breastfeeding patterns during hospitalization and the exclusive breastfeeding rate upon hospital discharge.

Methods: A retrospective data analysis of the rates of Marshallese mothers exclusively breastfeeding while in the hospital was analyzed to support a needs assessment for an in-hospital educational interventions. Data was collected through a medical records audit collecting information specific to breastfeeding rates of Marshallese mothers in 2014. Designated variables were assessed to provide frequency data, and compared to breastfeeding patterns to determine any significant relationships.

Results: Length of hospital stay was the only variable that proved to have significant effect on mother’s breastfeeding pattern. An overall regression analysis proved that 74% of mothers moved toward the negative direction (formula feeding) during their hospital stay.

Conclusion: The results from this study prove that the rate of exclusive breastfeeding amongst Marshallese mothers in the hospital is lower than desired levels. A culturally significant educational intervention is needed in order to increase these rates and improve the overall health of both the mother and baby. Further research is needed to discover the reasoning behind their feeding patterns and what further measures can be done to close this cultural gap.