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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 105, Issue 3, pp e179–e185 | Cite as

Factors influencing the reasons why mothers stop breastfeeding

  • Catherine R. L. Brown
  • Linda Dodds
  • Alexandra Legge
  • Janet Bryanton
  • Sonia Semenic
Quantitative Research
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Objectives: To explore the reasons why women stop breastfeeding completely before their infants are six months of age and to identify the factors associated with cessation and the timing of cessation.

METHODS: For all singleton live newborns born between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009 in two district health authorities in Nova Scotia, Canada, mother’s self-reported breastfeeding status was collected at hospital discharge and at five follow-up visits until infants were six months of age. Mothers who stopped breastfeeding before six months were also questioned about the time of weaning and the reason they discontinued all breastfeeding. Eleven categories were created from the open-ended responses women provided. These data were linked with the Nova Scotia Atlee Perinatal Database in order to obtain information on maternal and neonatal characteristics. The relationship between maternal, obstetrical, and neonatal characteristics and each reason for stopping breastfeeding completely were examined.

RESULTS: Of the 500 mothers who stopped breastfeeding completely before six months and provided a reason for discontinuing, the majority (73.6%) stopped within the first six weeks. The most common reasons cited were inconvenience or fatigue associated with breastfeeding (22.6%) and concerns about milk supply (21.6%). Return to work or school was associated with length of time that infants were breastfed: 20% of women who stopped after six weeks citing this as the reason. Most of the reasons, however, were not found to be associated with a specific duration of breastfeeding or with the examined maternal and infant characteristics.

CONCLUSION: This study highlights factors associated with the reasons why women stop breastfeeding completely before six months and how these reasons varied with weaning age. The results will help inform future research aimed at identifying interventions to reduce early breastfeeding cessation.

Key Words

Breastfeeding infant weaning lactation 

Résumé

OBJECTIFS: Étudier les raisons pour lesquelles les femmes cessent complètement d’allaiter avant que leurs nourrissons atteignent l’âge de six mois et répertorier les facteurs associés à l’arrêt et au moment de l’arrêt de l’allaitement maternel.

MÉTHODE: Pour tous les bébés uniques nés vivants entre le 1er janvier 2008 et le 31 décembre 2009 dans deux districts sanitaires de la Nouvelle-Écosse, au Canada, nous avons recueilli les informations sur l’allaitement maternel autodéclarées par les mères à leur sortie de l’hôpital et lors de cinq visites de suivi, jusqu’à ce que leurs nourrissons aient six mois. Les mères ayant cessé d’allaiter avant six mois ont aussi été interrogées sur le moment du sevrage et la raison pour laquelle elles avaient complètement cessé d’allaiter. Nous avons classé les réponses des femmes à nos questions ouvertes en 11 catégories. Nous avons ensuite lié ces données à celles de la base de données périnatales Atlee de la Nouvelle-Écosse afin d’obtenir de l’information sur les caractéristiques maternelles et néonatales. Les liens entre les caractéristiques maternelles, obstétriques et néonatales et chaque raison d’avoir complètement cessé l’allaitement maternel ont été examinés.

RÉSULTATS: Sur les 500 mères ayant complètement cessé d’allaiter avant six mois et ayant partagé la raison de cet arrêt, la majorité (73,6 %) avaient cessé d’allaiter au cours des six premières semaines. Les raisons les plus communément citées étaient l’incommodité ou la fatigue associés à l’allaitement (22,6 %) et la crainte de ne pas avoir assez de lait (21,6 %). Le retour au travail ou aux études était associé à la durée de l’allaitement: 20 % des femmes ayant cessé d’allaiter après six semaines ont donné cette raison. La plupart des raisons invoquées, cependant, n’étaient pas associées à une durée d’allaitement particulière ni avec les caractéristiques disponibles sur les mères et les nourrissons.

CONCLUSION: Cette étude fait ressortir les facteurs associés aux raisons pour lesquelles les femmes cessent complètement d’allaiter avant six mois et le fait que ces raisons varient selon l’âge du sevrage. Les résultats obtenus permettront d’éclairer les recherches futures qui visent à trouver des interventions pour réduire l’arrêt précoce de l’allaitement maternel.

Mots Clés

allaitement maternel nourrisson sevrage lactation 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine R. L. Brown
    • 1
  • Linda Dodds
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alexandra Legge
    • 3
  • Janet Bryanton
    • 4
  • Sonia Semenic
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Community Health & EpidemiologyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and PediatricsDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  4. 4.School of NursingUniversity of Prince Edward IslandCharlottetownCanada
  5. 5.School of NursingMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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