Objective: To investigate the role of severe physical violence during pregnancy (SPVP) between intimate partners in early cessation of exclusive breast-feeding (EBF).
Design: A health services survey. The revised Conflict Tactics Scale was used to characterize SPVP; premature breast-feeding cessation was identified using a current status data approach, which was based on the information reported from food recall during the preceding 7 d. The cumulative hazard function was estimated by complementary log-log transformation models, which allowed the ensuing estimation of early breast-feeding cessation rates in different age groups and the ratio of rates of weaning between women exposed and not exposed to violence.
Setting: Five large public primary health-care facilities of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Subjects: The sample comprised 811 randomly selected mothers of children under 5 months of age who were waiting to be consulted.
Results: SPVP is an independent risk factor of cessation of EBF since, after controlling for socio-economic, demographic, reproductive and lifestyle variables, women exposed to violence presented an incidence density that was 31% higher than those who were not exposed (hazard ratio = 1·30, 95% CI 1·01, 1·69).
Conclusions: The findings corroborate the hypothesis that SPVP is an important risk factor for EBF. This indicates the need for incentives to adequately train health-care personnel in dealing with lactating women in order to gain a broader view of breast-feeding beyond the biological aspects of lactation, including the maternal psychological dimension.