Prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding and its determiners in the first 3 months of life in the South of Brazil

Maria Laura W. Mascarenhas Elaine P. Albernaz Mirian B. da Silva Regina B. da Silveira About the authors

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding during the first 3 months of life and its determinant factors in a city in the South region of Brazil. METHODS: Prospective study of a cohort of babies born between September 2002 and May 2003 in the city of Pelotas, RS. Data were obtained in interviews, at maternity units and during home visits, with mothers of babies aged between 1 and 3 months. Factors related to the cessation of breastfeeding were subjected to univariate, bivariate and multivariate analysis. RESULTS: Nine hundred and forty mothers of children aged 3 months or less were interviewed, 39% of whom were still exclusively breastfeeding and around 1/3 of whom no longer breastfed. Multivariate analysis by logistic regression demonstrated a significant association between interruption of exclusive breastfeeding before 3 months and maternal employment, use of a pacifier, low family income (between one and three times the minimum wage), and less than 5 years' paternal education. CONCLUSIONS: Exclusive breastfeeding throughout the first 3 months of life is an uncommon practice among the population of Pelotas, RS, in particular when the mother works away from home, the father has little education and the child is given a pacifier, which reinforces the need to continue stimulating exclusive breastfeeding during the first months of life.

Breastfeeding; lactation; infant nutrition

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