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J Am Diet Assoc. 2002 Jul;102(7):937-43.

A longitudinal study of breastfeeding and weaning practices during the first year of life in Dunedin, New Zealand.

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  • 1Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.



To investigate infant feeding practices during the first year of life in a group of white infants in Dunedin, New Zealand.


Prospective study of infants from birth to 12 months of age.


A self-selected sample of 74 white mothers and their infants born in Dunedin, New Zealand, between October 1995 and May 1996. Statistical analyses Regression analyses were performed to determine factors associated with successful breastfeeding initiation and duration.


Among mothers, 88% (n=65) initiated breastfeeding, 42% (n=31) were exclusively breastfeeding at 3 months, and 34% (n=25) were partially breastfeeding at 12 months. Intention to breastfeed increased the likelihood of successful breastfeeding initiation. Mothers who reported that they did not have enough breastmilk tended to exclusively breastfeed for a shorter period of time. Tertiary education and exclusively breastfeeding at 1 month were associated with a longer duration of breastfeeding. Perception of breastfeeding in public as embarrassing was associated with a shorter duration of breastfeeding. Among infants, 45% (n=33) were given nonmilk foods before 4 months of age, and 69% (n=51) were given unmodified cow's milk as a beverage before 12 months.


Breastfeeding rates in this study, although higher than in many Western countries, were still lower than current recommendations. Our findings suggest that women should be taught how to increase their breastmilk supply. Parents should also be informed of the importance of delaying the introduction of nonmilk foods until their infant is 4 to 6 months of age and cow's milk until they are 12 months of age. Society also needs to address the social issue of embarrassment many mothers feel when breastfeeding in public.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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