Factors associated with initiation and duration of breastfeeding in Italy

Acta Paediatr. 1999 Apr;88(4):411-5. doi: 10.1080/08035259950169792.


To evaluate factors associated with initiation and duration of breastfeeding in Italy, 1601 (73%) respondents among 2192 randomly selected mothers were interviewed within 1 mo of delivery. Mothers who started breastfeeding (85%) were followed-up for 12 mo. A compliance rate of 100% was obtained. At multiple logistic regression analysis, mother having been breastfed herself (p < 0.01), nursing guidance in the maternity ward (p = 0.01) and higher social class (p = 0.03) were positively associated with initiation of breastfeeding. We found that 42%, 19%, 10% and 4% mothers were still breastfeeding at 3, 6, 9 and 12 mo after delivery, respectively. Cox multiple regression analysis showed a negative association between duration of breastfeeding and pacifier use (p < 0.01), and a positive association with a higher level of maternal education (p = 0.04). Formula supplementation in the maternity ward (given to 30% of infants) was associated with a shorter duration of exclusive breastfeeding (p = 0.03). Mothers need support with breastfeeding, particularly those from lower social backgrounds and with lower levels of education. Early use of the pacifier should be discouraged.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Breast Feeding / psychology
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Food / statistics & numerical data
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Italy
  • Logistic Models
  • Maternal Age
  • Motivation
  • Smoking
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time