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Influence of peers on breastfeeding discontinuation among new parents : the Melbourne InFANT Program

OBJECTIVE We aimed to investigate whether the proportion of breastfeeding mothers in first-time parent groups influenced the likelihood of ceasing breastfeeding and whether this was independent of socioeconomic position.
METHODS Data were from 501 mothers (from 62 first-time parent groups initiated ~6 weeks after birth) who provided data at the baseline and mid-intervention assessments of the Melbourne Infant Feeding, Activity, and Nutrition Trial. Parent groups were divided into those in which ≤25% of mothers had ceased breastfeeding by 6 weeks (low-cessation groups) and those in which >25% had ceased by 6 weeks (high-cessation groups).
RESULTS With the exclusion of mothers who had already ceased breastfeeding by 6 weeks, the proportion of mothers who ceased breastfeeding between the time of parent group initiation (6 weeks) and 6 months was higher in high-cessation groups than in low-cessation groups (37.4% vs 21.7%; P = .001). After adjustment for maternal age, BMI, employment, and education and area-level socioeconomic position, membership in a group in which a large proportion of mothers had ceased breastfeeding by 6 weeks was strongly related to cessation of breastfeeding before 6 months (odds ratio: 2.1 [95% confidence interval: 1.3–3.3]).
CONCLUSIONS Attendance at parent groups where peers are breastfeeding infants of a similar age may have an important influence on the continuation of breastfeeding to 6 months. First-time parent groups or other similar groups may be an important setting in which to promote the continuation of breastfeeding.

History

Journal

Pediatrics

Volume

126

Issue

3

Publisher

American Academy of Pediatrics

Location

Elk Grove Village, Ill.

ISSN

0031-4005

eISSN

1098-4275

Language

eng

Notes

Published online August 2, 2010

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2010, American Academy of Pediatrics.