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Most Moms Stop Breastfeeding Earlier Than They Desire

Chief reasons cited are concerns over maternal, child health or processes tied to breastfeeding

TUESDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Concerns about maternal or child health and lactation or milk-pumping problems are the major reasons why mothers stop breastfeeding earlier than desired, according to a study published online Feb. 18 in Pediatrics.

Erika C. Odom, Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from monthly surveys of 1,177 mothers aged 18 years and older (conducted from pregnancy until their child was 1 year of age). Mothers were questioned whether they breastfed as long as they wanted (yes/no) and asked to rate the importance of 32 reasons for stopping on a 4-point Likert scale.

The researchers found that 60 percent of mothers who stopped breastfeeding did so earlier than desired. Mothers' concerns regarding difficulties with lactation; infant nutrition and weight; illness or need to take medicine; and the effort associated with pumping milk were positively associated with early termination.

"Continued professional support may be necessary to address these challenges and help mothers meet their desired breastfeeding duration," the authors write.

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