Breastfeeding duration is determined by only a few factors

Elke Peters*, Karl Heinz Wehkamp, Ricardo E. Felberbaum, Detlef Krüger, Roland Linder

*Corresponding author for this work
22 Citations (Scopus)


Background: According to a representative German study prepared between 1996 and 1998 (SuSe-Study) 90% of the mothers were willing to breastfeed, but only 33% (10%) of the babies were exclusively breastfed up to 4 (6) months of age. Bearing in mind that the period currently recommended for breastfeeding is 6 months, this discrepancy highlights the need for action to identify the causes. The present study investigates the behavioural pattern of mothers 4-5 months after delivery. Methods: The investigation was carried out as a cross-sectional study of mothers who intended to breastfeed their babies (n = 52). All mothers delivered in a hospital, with maximum medical care, and were interviewed later by telephone using a semi-standardised questionnaire. The differences between actual breastfeeding mothers (BF, n = 30) and non-breastfeeding mothers (not BF, n = 22) were identified. The factors influencing decision-making were determined. Results: Significant differences between the two groups tested (BF and not BF) were identified as the perception of the simplicity of breastfeeding, planned pregnancy, marital status, as well as participation at birth preparation classes. If only factors known prior to birth are applied, the decision to breastfeed can be correctly forecast as being 81%. Conclusion: In order to allocate consulting resources more effectively, appropriate concepts need to be developed and promoted. If the present results could be verified by a study with a larger sample, the practical use for resource optimisation in breastfeeding consultations would be very beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)162-167
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2006


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