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Soc Sci Med. 1991;33(5):627-34.

Comparison of influences on breastfeeding initiation of firstborn children, 1960-69 vs 1970-79.

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  • 1Policy and Evaluation Division, U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington, DC 20523-1819.


This study compares the determinants of breastfeeding initiation of firstborn children in two periods, 1960-69 and 1970-79, using data on 782 women from the RAND Health Insurance Experiment. The 1960-69 period covers the end of the decline in breastfeeding rates in the U.S.; the 1970-79 period was one of rapid resurgence in those rates. Different combinations of sociodemographic and birth-specific variables are significant in each period. The effects of race and administration of painkiller on breastfeeding changed significantly between periods. However, increased interest in health-promoting behavior is responsible for most of the upward pressure on breastfeeding rates over the period studied.

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