Breastfeeding is known to confer benefits, both in the short term and long term, to the child and also to the mother. Various health-promotion initiatives have aimed to increase breastfeeding rates and duration in the United Kingdom over the past decade. In order to assist in these endeavours, it is essential to understand the reasons why women decide whether to breastfeed and the factors that influence the duration of breastfeeding. This study reports breastfeeding initiation and duration rates of mothers participating in the Growth, Learning and Development study undertaken by the Child Health & Welfare Recognised Research Group. Although this study cannot provide prevalence data for all mothers in Greater Belfast, it can provide useful information on trends within particular groups of the population. In addition, it examines maternally reported reasons for choosing to breastfeed and for breastfeeding cessation. The likelihood of mothers initiating breastfeeding is influenced by factors such as increased age, higher educational attainment and higher socio-economic grouping. The most common reason cited for breastfeeding is that it is “best for baby”. Returning to work is the most important factor in influencing whether mothers continued to breastfeed. Women report different reasons for cessation depending on the age of their child when they stopped breastfeeding. This information should inform health-promotion initiatives and interventions.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Child Care in Practice|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|