Predictors of the duration of exclusive breastfeeding among first-time mothers

Authors

  • Sonia Semenic,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Nursing, McGill University, 3506 University St., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2A7
    2. McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    • School of Nursing, McGill University, 3506 University St., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2A7.
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    • Nurse Scientist.

    • Assistant Professor.

  • Carmen Loiselle,

    1. School of Nursing, McGill University, 3506 University St., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2A7
    2. Centre for Nursing Research, SMBD-Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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    • Assistant Professor.

    • Senior Researcher.

  • Laurie Gottlieb

    1. School of Nursing, McGill University, 3506 University St., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2A7
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    • Professor and Flora Madeline Shaw Chair in Nursing.


  • This article is based on data collected for a doctoral dissertation supported in part by fellowships from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Order of Nurses of Quebec, and McGill University Faculty of Graduate Studies. We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Jim Ramsay and Danielle Groleau to Dr. Semenic's dissertation committee, and thank all the new parents who volunteered their time to participate in this study.

Abstract

Few women currently meet revised WHO recommendations to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months postpartum. In this prospective study we aimed to determine the influence of socio-demographic, psychosocial, and perinatal factors on the length of exclusive breastfeeding among 189 Canadian primiparous mothers. A majority of the participants did not meet their exclusive breastfeeding goals, and only 5% breastfed exclusively for a full 6 months. Breastfeeding self-efficacy, in-hospital formula supplementation, prenatal class attendance, and type of delivery independently predicted exclusive breastfeeding duration. Findings underscore the complex interplay of factors influencing breastfeeding, highlight the early postpartum weeks as a critical period for the establishment of exclusive breastfeeding, and suggest the need for a continuum of pre- and postnatal strategies for prolonging the exclusive breastfeeding period. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 31:428–441, 2008

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