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Midwifery. 2008 Mar;24(1):55-61. Epub 2007 Jan 2.

Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative practices and breast feeding duration in a cohort of first-time mothers in Adelaide, Australia.

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School of Nursing and Midwifery, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, University of South Australia Adelaide, South Australia 5001.



to investigate the relationship between adherence to six of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) Ten steps to successful breast feeding and the duration of breast feeding in first-time mothers.


a prospective study to assess the duration of breast feeding up to 6 months postpartum. Survival analysis techniques (Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox proportional hazard models) were used to interpret the data.


317 women who had given birth to their first baby (at term) in a large teaching maternity hospital in Adelaide, South Australia, during the period March to November 2003.


ignoring all other factors, we found that women whose babies received a bottle feed, used a pacifier or dummy, or who used a nipple shield during their postnatal stay, were at significantly greater risk of weaning (p0.05). After adjusting for socio-demographic variables, self-efficacy, intended duration of breast feeding, and method of delivery, the results unexpectedly showed that the only significant predictor of early weaning was breast feeding on demand. However, a composite variable indicating use of one or more of nipple shields, a dummy or bottle feeds while in hospital resulted in a significantly greater risk of weaning (p=0.05).


socio-demographic and cultural factors may be more important determinants of the duration of breast feeding than some of the very specific hospital practices targeted in the Ten steps to successful breast feeding. From a public health perspective, we may influence the duration of breast feeding through better post-discharge support services, or through interventions that improve attitudes to breast feeding in specific socio-cultural and economic groups.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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