Breastfeeding and Native American Women’s Preference in Food Taste


  • Liza-Ann Suba
  • Hope Davis
  • Kristen McPherson
  • Allison Garnett
  • Alexis Jones



To ascertain whether breastfeeding influences Native American women’s interest in eating specific food tastes, women were surveyed upon arrival to their 6-week postpartum appointment to assess interest in eating foods from 5 different taste categories.


Surveys were offered at check in, and no identifying information (name, age, race, SSN) or protected health information was collected. Women were asked whether they were breastfeeding, number of infants delivered, and if this was their first baby. Level of hunger was rated on a Likert scale that ranged from 1 (not hungry at all) to 9 (very hungry), with 5 indicating “don’t care.”    


Overall, breastfeeding women did indicate a significant difference in eating specific foods from within the sweet taste category when compared to non-breastfeeding women. Non-breastfeeding women demonstrated a significant positive correlation between hunger scores and their inclination to consume chocolate bars, whereas breastfeeding women exhibited greater interest in consuming chocolate bars overall. Lastly, there were no significant differences between breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding women when it came to preferences in eating foods within the other taste groups (salty, bitter, sour, meaty, and hot).


These findings represent the first approach at assessing the potential influence of breastfeeding within the Native American population on the level of interest for eating certain foods. These findings may provide a starting point for examining food preferences within a subset of the Native American population with the hopes of further evaluating potential cultural influences in future studies.






Biomedical Sciences