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Breastfeeding failure in a longitudinal post-partum maternal nutrition study in Hong Kong.

Chan SM, et al. J Paediatr Child Health. 2000.


OBJECTIVE: To describe factors associated with breastfeeding failure during the first 6 months post-partum in a sample of Hong Kong Chinese women participating in a longitudinal study of maternal nutrition.

METHODOLOGY: Forty-four Hong Kong Chinese lactating mothers who intended to breastfeed exclusively for at least 3 months were recruited and followed for 6 months post-partum. Demographic data were compared with 20 mothers who intended to use formula feeding. Mothers were followed up at 2 and 6 weeks and 3 and 6 months and details of infant feeding practices were obtained. Information was sought on breastfeeding management in hospital, reasons for discontinuation of breastfeeding or for providing supplements to babies and intention to seek, and sources of, lactation support.

RESULTS: Thirty-nine mothers who planned to breastfeed completed the follow up. Compared with mothers in the formula-feeding group, breastfeeding mothers were more likely to be professionals or housewives. Continuation of any breastfeeding (total and partial) was noted in 30 (77%), 22 (57%), 16 (41%) and 12 (31%) mothers at 2 and 6 weeks and 3 and 6 months post-partum, respectively. The majority (97%) of mothers stated that they were given information on the benefits and management of breastfeeding. However, late initiation of breastfeeding and providing supplements to babies were common. Perceptions of insufficient milk supply (44%), breast problems (31%) and being too tired (28%) were the main reasons stated for stopping breastfeeding or for providing supplements to babies. Midwives from the postnatal wards and hotlines were the main sources of lactation support.

CONCLUSIONS: These results highlight difficulties in sustaining breastfeeding, either exclusive or partial, in Hong Kong Chinese women. Despite being recruited on the basis of intending to exclusively breastfeed for 3 months, less than half these mothers were still breastfeeding and only approximately one-third were exclusively or predominantly breastfeeding at 3 months. More needs to be done within the hospital environment to initiate breastfeeding immediately after birth and to avoid giving unnecessary supplements and more effort is needed to foster a mother's confidence, commitment and knowledge of breastfeeding.


11036803 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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