Although human milk provides optimal nutrition for infants, fewer than one third of US infants are breastfed exclusively for 6 months or more. The objectives of this study were to determine the factors that have the greatest impact on the decisions to breastfeed, and to determine the effect of formula provided by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) on the initiation and duration of breastfeeding among WIC participants in a rural parish in central Louisiana. A cross-sectional study was done between September 2007 and March 2008 among 130 WIC participants. Approximately half (51%) of the participants reported breastfeeding their youngest child for a mean of 15.7±14.9 weeks, with more white mothers breastfeeding than did African-American mothers or other races (P<0.01). Significantly more people reported that incentives provided to encourage breastfeeding did not affect their decision to breastfeed than those who said incentives affected their decision to breastfeed (P<0.029). Finally, study participants who were breastfed as a child were significantly more likely to breastfeed their children than those who were not breastfed as a child (P<0.022). The majority (96%) of the participants in this study indicated that WIC is providing effective and clear education about the benefits of breastfeeding, and that this advice influenced their decision to breastfeed their children. These findings underscore the importance of emphasizing the health benefits of breastfeeding to increase initiation and duration rates among WIC participants.