Does exclusive breastfeeding relate to the longer duration of breastfeeding? A prospective cohort study

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Journal Article

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Breastfeeding duration; Determinants; Exclusive breastfeeding; Modifiable behavior


© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Objectives: Suboptimal breastfeeding contributes to morbidity and mortality in children. Studies in high-income countries (HICs) show that exclusive-breastfeeding (EBF) is associated with longer breastfeeding duration. The aim of this study was to determine whether maternal reports of EBF at six months are associated with longer duration of breastfeeding during the first two years of life in a low and middle-income country (LMIC) setting, and to identify determinants of breastfeeding duration. Methods: This prospective cohort includes data from an EBF promotion program in Demak District, Central Java Province, Indonesia, with a non-randomized pretest-posttest control group. Mothers and infants were followed through 26 months postnatal age. Data were analyzed using Cox proportional hazard regression with time to cessation of EBF as the outcome. Results: A total of 147 families were included in the study. Longer EBF duration was not associated with prolonged duration of breastfeeding. Longer breastfeeding duration was associated with mothers who disagreed with a statement of being ashamed to breastfeed (HR 0.035, 95%CI 0.003,0.44). Risk factors for shorter breastfeeding duration included mothers’ plan to breastfeed for less than 24 months (HR 4.28 95%CI 1.91,9.60), mothers’ belief that breastfeeding less than 24 months was the norm (HR 2.98 95%CI 1.31,6.77) and exposure to EBF promotion (HR:4.09 95%CI 2.14,7.82). Conclusions: In a LMIC community where long breastfeeding duration is common, EBF is not associated with breastfeeding duration. However, modifiable behavioral factors were significant predictors of breastfeeding duration. We therefore recommend that prolonged breastfeeding duration can be achieved through programs that improve breastfeeding behavior.