Protocol - History of Being Breast-Fed - Adult

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The respondent is asked whether or not his or her mother breast-fed him or her.

Specific Instructions

Ideally, a question about the duration of breast-feeding also would be added to this protocol. Men may be less likely than women to know whether they had been breast-fed as an infant.

If the subject is a child and the respondent is the child’s adult parent or guardian, consider the more detailed Child Protocol.




1. Did your mother breast-feed you?

1 [ ] Yes

2 [ ] No

8 [ ] Don’t know

Personnel and Training Required

The interviewer must be trained to conduct personal interviews with individuals from the general population. The interviewer must be trained and found to be competent (i.e., tested by an expert) at the completion of personal interviews.*

* There are multiple modes to administer this question (e.g., paper-and-pencil and computer-assisted interviews).

Equipment Needs

While the source instrument was administered in-person via a paper-and-pencil instrument, the PhenX Working Group acknowledges that these questions can be administered in a computerized format (i.e., computer-assisted personal interview). Computer software is necessary to develop computer-assisted instruments. The interviewer will require a laptop computer or handheld computer to administer a computer-assisted questionnaire.

Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Interviewer-administered questionnaire


Adolescent, Adult


Any age

Selection Rationale

This is a simple question that captures the basic information needed about whether or not the person was breast-fed.


Chinese, English, Other languages available at source

Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) Environ exp hx breast fed proto 62532-7 LOINC
Human Phenotype Ontology Triggered by breast feeding HP:0025206 HPO
Human Phenotype Ontology Feeding difficulties in infancy HP:0008872 HPO
caDSR Form PhenX PX061001 - History Of Being Breast Fed 5869503 caDSR Form
Derived Variables


Process and Review

The Expert Review Panel #2 (ERP 2) reviewed the measures in the Demographics, Environmental Exposures, and Social Environments domains.

Guidance from ERP 2 includes:

• Revised descriptions of the measure

Back-compatible: no changes to Data Dictionary

Previous version in Toolkit archive (link)

Protocol Name from Source

National Institutes of Health (NIH), Long Island Breast Cancer Study, 1996


National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. (1996). Long Island Breast Cancer Study. Section M: Pregnancy Related Problems. Question number M1a (Question 1).

General References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Breastfeeding. Atlanta, GA: Author. http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/

Miotti, P. G., Taha, T. E., Kumwenda, N. I., Broadhead, R., Mtimavalye, L.A., Van der Hoeven, L., . . . Biggar, R. J. (1999). HIV transmission through breastfeeding: A study in Malawi. JAMA, 282(8), 744-749.

Needham, L. L., & R. Y. Wang. (2002). Analytic considerations for measuring environmental chemicals in breast milk. Environmental Health Perspectives, 110(6), A317-A324.

Protocol ID


Export Variables
Variable Name Variable IDVariable DescriptiondbGaP Mapping
PX061001010000 Did your mother breastfeed you? Variable Mapping
Environmental Exposures
Measure Name

History of Being Breast Fed

Release Date

October 30, 2009


Question about whether or not the respondent was breast-fed as a child.


Human milk has health benefits for infants (i.e., nutritional and immunologic benefits). Lactation has been shown to be beneficial to the health of mothers (e.g., lower risk of some cancers). Breast-feeding also has been shown to have psychological and neurodevelopmental benefits. Unfortunately, human milk may also be a vehicle for transfer of viruses (e.g., HIV) and environmental chemicals (e.g., polyhalogenated chemicals). Generally, the benefits of human milk and lactation have been found to outweigh the risks of exposures to pathogens or toxic substances in breast milk but there are higher-risk situations that have been recognized. Researchers can use information about breast-feeding to make inferences relevant to early nutritional status and immunologic development, the mother-child relationship, and potential exposures.


Environmental Exposures, breast-feeding, breast milk, lactation, immunology, virus transmission, National Cancer Institute, NCI, Long Island Breast Cancer Study, LIBCSP

Measure Protocols
Protocol ID Protocol Name
61001 History of Being Breast-Fed - Adult
61002 History of Being Breast-Fed - Child

There are no publications listed for this protocol.