Factors affecting the duration of breast feeding: 2. early feeding practices and social class

M.J. Houston, P. W. Howie, L. Smart, T. McArdle, A. S. McNeilly

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    Breast milk intake by babies on the third and the sixth postpartum day was measured by a test-weigh procedure in a group of 47 mothers and babies. Women who gave the largest amount of breast milk to their babies on the third postpartum day continued to breast feed for longer than women who gave smaller amounts. These mothers also suckled most frequently, gave least additional fluid to their babies, and their infants regained their birth weight most rapidly. However, an increased early milk intake and duration of breast feeding were both associated with higher social class. These results suggest that, although practices in the initiation of breast feeding are relevant, factors in the background and environment of the mother are also of fundamental importance.

    Thus recent emphasis on the importance of breast-feeding practices in the immediate puerperium should not divert attention from the equally important task of establishing the optimum conditions for breast feeding in the home environment of mothers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)55-63
    Number of pages9
    JournalEarly Human Development
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 1983

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