The psychosocial and biological benefits of breastfeeding to mother and child have been well established in the literature, factors underlying the decision to breastfeed are less well understood. The purpose of this study is to identify factors that impact women on their decision to breastfeed. We hope to establish guidelines to help promote exclusive breastfeeding to age six months as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
275 women were followed at three different time points, immediately postpartum, three months, and six months postpartum. Respondents were recruited from St. Joseph Hospital, in Chicago, Illinois from 2014 to 2015. Researchers approached postpartum patients, briefed them on the research and invited them to participate. Written questionnaires were filled out. Follow up phone calls were made at three and six months postpartum.
Breastfeeding was more commonly observed among women who planned to breastfeed and those who ultimately did at three months postpartum. 72.3% of women reported being breastfed as infants and 75.3% reported breastfeeding. Logistic regression modeling confirmed that those women who were breastfed as children had significantly increased odds of planning to and ultimately breastfeeding (OR: 10.2, CI: [1.1, 97.5]). Women who breastfed previously also possessed significantly increased odds of planning to and successfully breastfeeding, independent of age, education level and gestational age.
Previous history of breastfeeding was independently associated with the intent to breastfeeding and ultimate action of breastfeeding. As we transition to becoming a baby friendly hospital, we will strive to focus on educating women without any previous exposure to breastfeeding.
St. Joseph Hospital, Chicago, IL
Financial Disclosure: The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.