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Matern Child Health J. 2016 Feb;20(2):240-9.

Life Course Factors Associated with Initiation and Continuation of Exclusive Breastfeeding.



Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) benefits the life course health development of infants, families, and society. Professional health associations recommend EBF for 4 months, and many now recommend EBF for 6 months. Yet only 18.8 % of US infants born in 2011 were exclusively breastfed. Numerous studies on breastfeeding are published, but few describe EBF. This study describes characteristics of women who initiated EBF and examines the associations of those factors with EBF lasting ≥4 months. The Life Course Health Development (LCHD)framework was used to structure the analysis and interpret results.


Data collected through the Infant Feeding Practices Study II survey (2005-2007) were used to identify a cohort of women (n = 1226) practicing EBF at the time of hospital discharge and their sociodemographic, health, work, and child care characteristics. Associations of these characteristics with EBF lasting ≥4 months were studied by bivariate and logistic regression analyses.


College education [odds ratio (OR) 2.14, 95 %confidence interval (CI) 1.58-2.89] and marriage (OR2.19, 95 % CI 1.43-3.37) were associated with greater odds of EBF lasting ≥4 months, whereas the plan to return to work after birth (OR 0.57, 95 % CI 0.43-0.74), living in the south (OR 0.67, 95 % CI 0.47-0.95), and postpartum depression risk (OR 0.43, 95 % CI 0.28–0.66)were associated with lower odds of EBF lasting ≥ 4 months.


Several factors associated with disparities in continued EBF were identified. The application of the LCHD framework furthers understanding of the multiple and interacting risks associated with early discontinuation of EBF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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