Factors affecting intention to breastfeed of a group of Brazilian childbearing women

Women Birth. 2017 Apr;30(2):e119-e124. doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2016.10.004. Epub 2016 Nov 10.


Background: Knowing the intention of mothers is important to plan actions to improve exclusive breastfeeding rates.

Aim: The objective of this retrospective study was to verify the intention to breastfeed and the intended breastfeeding duration of a group of women participating in a public prenatal dental care program in the city of Araçatuba, Brazil.

Methods: The records of 933 childbearing women were analyzed and their intention to breastfeed and intended breastfeeding duration were associated to women's age, ethnicity, marital status, education, employment, number of gestations, previous breastfeeding experience, previous breastfeeding guidance, presence of complications during pregnancy, and systemic diseases. Data were inserted into Epi Info 2000 and analyzed with Biostat, at a 5% level of significance, and confidence interval of 95%.

Findings: Participants mean age was 26.1±5.9years. The majority of women (96.5%) declared their intention to breastfeed their babies. The main variables to affect the intention to breastfeed were the number of gestations (p=0.001), previous breastfeeding experience (p=0.03), and previous breastfeeding guidance (p=0.01). Intended breastfeeding duration was significantly affected by women's age (p=0.04), employment (0.02), the number of gestations (p=0.001), and previous breastfeeding experience (p=0.04).

Conclusions: Previous positive breastfeeding experience and guidance during prenatal examinations positively affected women's intention to breastfeed; while older, unemployed women in their second or more gestation and previous breastfeeding experience intended to breastfeed their children for longer periods of time.

Keywords: Brazil; Breastfeeding; Breastfeeding difficulties; Breastfeeding initiation; Pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Brazil
  • Breast Feeding / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult