Aim: To identify maternal and infantile factors affecting intention to breastfeed, early weaning and duration of breastfeeding.
Design/subjects: In a prospective cohort study, 1049 mothers were interviewed after delivery and at 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months post-partum.
Results: Of 1049 mothers, 942 (89.7%) intended to breastfeed. Negative attitude was associated with lack of breastfeeding previous offspring, multiparity, admission to neonatal ward, tobacco use, prematurity and male gender (OR: 10.1, 2.67, 3.02, 2.63, 2.40 and 1.54, respectively). Six hundred and twenty-three mothers (60.7%) were breastfeeding at month 1. Early weaning was associated with lack of breastfeeding previous offspring, tobacco use, prematurity, admission to neonatal ward, caesarean section (OR: 12.3, 3.39, 2.33, 2.22, 1.34), low education (p < 0.0001) and young age (p = 0.034). Factors negatively affecting total duration of breastfeeding included lack of breastfeeding previous offspring (3.91 vs. 16.2 weeks, p < 0.001), tobacco use (6.78 vs. 15.9 weeks, p < 0.001), low education (p < 0.001), early re-employment (12.5 vs. 15.1 weeks, p < 0.01) and prematurity (p < 0.005).
Conclusion: Maternal negative attitude, tobacco use and early re-employment are factors negatively affecting breastfeeding that can be liable to intervention. All health professionals involved in perinatal medicine share a part of responsibility in sustaining breastfeeding, particularly in high-risk groups of mothers.