Purpose: To learn about the duration of breastfeeding and to describe the variables influencing breastfeeding practices of mothers who gave birth at a suburban community hospital.
Study and Design: An Institutional Review Board approved this descriptive anonymous survey with 20 questions concerning patients' characteristics and experiences with breastfeeding, which was developed based on current literature. The survey was distributed to mothers through Survey Monkey via email 6 months after birth.
Results: The survey link was sent to 806 mothers, with a response rate of 50%. Over 59% were still breastfeeding at 6 months. Mothers who initiated skin-to-skin contact in the first hour had a higher rate of breastfeeding during this time frame compared to mothers who did not perform skin-to-skin contact. Women who had cesarean births and women who were primiparas reported a higher use of formula while in the hospital, and breastfed for a shorter duration. The primary reasons for stopping breastfeeding were low milk supply, returned to work, and baby did not latch and nurse well.
Clinical Implications: This study adds to the knowledge base of what practices influence rates and duration of breastfeeding in the first 6 months of a baby's life. The information could enhance the care provided to mothers and babies through improving lactation programs and thereby increasing breastfeeding success rates.
Why do women continue to breastfeed for 6 months?
Amy L. Augustin is Clinician IV Staff Nurse at Reston Hospital Center, Reston, VA. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathleen Donovan is Clinician IV, Coordinator of Lactation Services at Reston Hospital Center, VA.
Emily A. Lozano is Pediatrician at Reston Hospital Center, VA.
Diane J. Massucci is Director at Stone Spring Emergency Center, VA.
Fran Wohlgemuth is Clinician IV Staff Nurse at Reston Hospital Center, VA.
The authors have declared that there are no conflicts of interest.