Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Edward Kujawa Jr., PhD, Director; Mary Woods Scherr, PhD; Rebecca Matheny, PhD


Breastfeeding, children & youth, child care, exclusion rate, feeding methods, infants, Leadership studies, women


The increasing numbers of women entering the work force have created a greater need for accessible, quality, and affordable child care. Concurrently there is rising concern about the transmission of infection in child care settings. There is evidence, but no consensus, that breastfeeding may offer protection from infection, especially during the first months of life. However, employed/student mothers report that efforts to maintain breastfeeding are not well supported at the work/school site. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the impact of infant feeding methods on the exclusion rate due to illness among infants less than six months of age during the first five weeks of enrollment at child care; to ascertain whether exclusion affected the mother's absenteeism from employment/school; and if other selected factors impacted on the exclusion rate. A five-part instrument, including a graduated infant feeding scale, was designed and validated for use in the research. The study took place in the regional San Diego area with 37 participating mother-infant pairs attending four different types of child care facilities. Information obtained was analyzed in a quantitative and qualitative manner using Pearson's r, ANOVA, regression, and cross tabulations. The results indicated that infant feeding mode was significantly correlated with exclusion rate; i.e., the more extensively the infants were breastfed the less likely they were excluded. In turn, maternal lost time from work/school was highly related to infant exclusion. Most other factors examined failed to show significant impact. Findings support breastfeeding as the ideal mode of infant feeding and reinforce a need for on-site child care.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access