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J Hum Lact. 2012 May;28(2):218-25. doi: 10.1177/0890334411429111. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

Maternal attachment representations and initiation and duration of breastfeeding.

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  • Department of Psychology, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. escharfe@trentu.ca


Despite the evidence that there are considerable benefits of breastfeeding, there are still gaps in understanding why many women have difficulties initiating and maintaining breastfeeding. In this prospective longitudinal study, the factors affecting the initiation and duration of breastfeeding were expanded to include attachment representations, which are known to influence health behaviors as well as one's ability to cope with stressful situations. Participants (n = 460) completed attachment and depression questionnaires during a prenatal clinic appointment, and in the postpartum period, mothers reported on their mood and breastfeeding behaviors. Consistent with attachment theory and previous research, women with attachment approach orientations were more likely to breastfeed, breastfeed longer, and continue breastfeeding when they experienced initial difficulties. The results of this study demonstrate that it is important to look beyond demographics to understand breastfeeding initiation and duration and provide further evidence that attachment representations influence health decisions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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