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To evaluate the factors associated with discontinuation of breast-feeding before 12 months in order to make suggestions for achieving long-term breast-feeding.
A descriptive cross-sectional study.
Gazi University Medical School, Ankara, Turkey.
Mothers of 1230 children who discontinued breast-feeding at least 15 d before the last visit were asked to fill out a questionnaire about the discontinuation process. Logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the independent effects of factors that might influence breast-feeding discontinuation.
Mean breast-feeding duration of the study group was 11·04 (sd 7·45) months. Introduction of bottle-feeding correlated with discontinuation of breast-feeding (r = 0·507, P = 0·001). Important risk factors for discontinuation of breast-feeding before the first 12 months were not exclusively breast-feeding at 3 and 6 months, prematurity, not having a plan about breast-feeding duration and maternity leave duration of ≤91 d for working mothers. The common reasons for abandoning breast-feeding in the first and second 6 months were similar, namely the mother’s concerns about the sufficiency of breast milk. After 12 months and 18 months the reasons for discontinuation were the baby’s unwillingness to eat solid foods while breast-feeding and the mother’s perception that ‘the baby is old enough’, respectively.
The factors that improve long-term breast-feeding are successful exclusive breast-feeding in the first few months, intention of the mother to breast-feed and sufficient duration of maternity leave. This study emphasizes the importance of successful breast-feeding counselling during the first few months to achieve the desired long-term breast-feeding.
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