Breastfeeding to 12 months and beyond offers considerable health benefits to both infants and mothers. Despite these recognized benefits, relatively few women in high income countries breastfeed for 12 months, and rarely breastfeed to 24 months. The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence and determinants of continued breastfeeding to 12 and 24 months amongst a cohort of Australian women participating in the Adelaide-based Study of Mothers’ and Infants’ Life Events affecting oral health (SMILE). Duration of breastfeeding was known for 1450 participants and was derived from feeding related data collected at birth, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the relationship between explanatory variables and continued breastfeeding to 12 and 24 months. In total, 31.8% of women breastfed to 12 months and 7.5% to 24 months. Women who were multiparous, university educated, had not returned to work by 12 months and whose partners preferred breastfeeding over bottle feeding were more likely to be breastfeeding at 12 months. While women who had introduced complementary foods before 17 weeks and formula at any age were less likely to be breastfeeding at 12 months. Mothers who were born in Asian countries other than India and China, had not returned to work by 12 months and had not introduced formula were more likely to be breastfeeding at 24 months. The majority of the determinants of continued breastfeeding are either modifiable or could be used to identify women who would benefit from additional breastfeeding support and encouragement.
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