Reluctance to continue breastfeeding in The Netherlands.
SourceActa Paediatrica, 90, 9, (2001), pp. 1047-1053
Article / Letter to editor
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A prospective cohort study of breastfeeding practice (0-4 mo) was carried out in well-baby clinics. The cohort included 4438 newborns brought to a clinic for the first time between 1 April and 1 July 1998. The odds ratios of demographic and gestational variables connected with the start and duration of breastfeeding were measured. The frequency of the reasons why breastfeeding was interrupted was determined. At birth 71% of the infants included in this study were exclusively breastfed. After 4 mo the percentage had dropped to 21%. Breast milk was replaced directly by formula (23%) or by a mixture of breast milk and formula (77%). Exclusive breastfeeding was given irrespective of the mother's cultural background. Higher education appeared to be the most decisive factor for the initiation of exclusive breastfeeding; higher parity was found to be the most decisive factor for continuation. In 46% of cases the infant's health and behaviour caused mothers to stop exclusive breastfeeding; in 38% the reasons were mother related; in 17% both mother- and infant-related motives were mentioned. Conclusion: Mothers' perception of hunger and crying colics were the main infant-related reasons for cessation of breastfeeding, whereas physical problems, return to work, doubt about the sufficiency of breast milk and the feeling of being restricted by breastfeeding were the main mother-related reasons. The decision to abandon exclusive breastfeeding was made primarily by mothers (71%). In The Netherlands more babies are breastfed at birth than was the case 10 y ago, but the duration of the breastfeeding period has become shorter.
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