Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School

Health Promotion and Human Performance

Committee Member

Joan Cowdery, Ph.D, Chair

Committee Member

Susan McCarthy, Ph.D.


Breastfeeding rates of incarcerated women in the U.S. are unknown. As the female prison population rises, little to no data exists on breastfeeding initiation within prison nursery programs. The purpose of this case study was to assess breastfeeding facilitation and initiation within one prison nursery program. An interview was conducted with a nursery program administrator from one of nine active prison nurseries here in the U.S. Constructs from the Social Cognitive Theory including reciprocal determination, facilitation, observational learning, and incentive motivation were assessed. Through an administrative perspective, the results provided a better understanding of prison nursery programs and shed light on the realities of breastfeeding mothers caring for children while incarcerated. It is suggested that further research be conducted on breastfeeding initiation and duration within prison nursery programs. Additionally, research is warranted to assist in future breastfeeding initiatives within existing prison nurseries and to evaluate the needs of breastfeeding mothers.