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Breastfeeding Support and Early Cessation


Lynne Porter Lewallen, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170. E-mail:


Objective:  To examine the types of help women received with breastfeeding both in the hospital and at home and the reasons why women stopped breastfeeding earlier than intended.

Design:  A descriptive design with open-ended questions.

Setting:  After participant recruitment in the postpartum hospital room, data were collected by phone 8 weeks after delivery.

Patients/Participants:  Three hundred seventy-nine women planning to breastfeed for at least 8 weeks after uncomplicated delivery.

Main Outcome Measures:  Breastfeeding status at 8 weeks postpartum; report of help with breastfeeding in the hospital and at home.

Results:  Sixty-eight percent of women were still breastfeeding at 8 weeks, although 37% of those reported supplementing with formula. Of those who had stopped, the most common reason was insufficient milk supply. Other reasons included painful nipples and latch problems, personal reasons, returning to work or school, and drugs/illness of the mother or baby. Most women received help with breastfeeding in the hospital, but only 55% received help with breastfeeding after hospital discharge.

Conclusions:  The primary reasons for early cessation of breastfeeding are amenable to nursing intervention. Every opportunity should be taken to address these issues both in the hospital and through follow-up calls. JOGNN, 35, 166-172; 2006. DOI: 10.1111/J.1552-6909.2006.00031.x.