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The intergenerational continuity of breastfeeding intention, initiation, and duration: a systematic review.
journal contributionposted on 2015-03-01, 00:00 authored by Laura Deegan, Jacqui MacdonaldJacqui Macdonald, Therese Knight
BACKGROUND: In studies investigating predictors of breastfeeding behaviors, it is not uncommon for researchers to adjust for participants' having been breastfed as an infant. This assumes an intergenerational effect of breastfeeding continuity. Our aim was to investigate the veracity of that assumption. Specifically, we sought to summarize and evaluate evidence of associations between breastfeeding in one generation and breastfeeding intentions and behaviors in the second generation. METHODS: A systematic search of psychological, nursing, and medical databases was conducted for studies examining "having been breastfed" as a factor in breastfeeding intention, initiation, or duration. Quality indicators were assessed and limitations reported. Effects were explored according to outcomes of intention, initiation, and duration. RESULTS: Fifteen papers were found to be eligible for the review. Having been breastfed as an infant was consistently correlated with breastfeeding intention, initiation, and duration. Effect sizes differed depending on methodology. Men's infant-feeding status was also related to later intentions to support or encourage a partner to breastfeed. CONCLUSIONS: Robust evidence for intergenerational breastfeeding continuity is present; however, mechanisms that explain this association were not considered in the studies reviewed and would best be explored within longitudinal cohort studies.