Background: Little is known about intended breastfeeding duration of women who initiate breastfeeding. We describe the association between intended and actual breastfeeding duration among low-income, diverse mothers who report maintaining breastfeeding for the first 2 months postpartum. Materials and Methods: We included mothers (64% Hispanic, 17% non-Hispanic black) participating in Greenlight, a cluster randomized childhood obesity prevention trial, who were providing breast milk at the 2-month preventive service visit and reported intended breastfeeding duration at this visit. Breastfeeding status was assessed at subsequent visits, up to 24 months. Poisson regression with a robust variance estimator was used to estimate risk ratios and 95% confidence intervals for meeting breastfeeding intentions. Covariates included race/ethnicity, income, receiving benefits from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), education, age, employment, depression, maternal obesity, U.S. born, whether infant was first born, and study site. Results: Median intended breastfeeding duration was 11.5 months (interquartile range [IQR]: 6-12) and median actual breastfeeding duration was 8.6 months (IQR: 4-14) (n = 349). Approximately half (49%) met intended breastfeeding duration. Breastfeeding duration differed based on milk type provided at the 2-month visit in that mothers providing mostly or only breast milk had increased likelihood of meeting breastfeeding intentions. Regardless of milk type provided at 2 months, the longer a mother intended to breastfeed, the less likely she was to meet her breastfeeding intentions. Conclusions: In this diverse sample of women less than half met breastfeeding intentions despite maintaining breastfeeding for 2 months. Understanding factors that prevent mothers from attaining intended breastfeeding duration is critical to improving breastfeeding outcomes, especially in low income and ethnic minority populations.
Keywords: breast milk; breastfeeding; expectations; intentions.