Trends and differentials in breast feeding: an update

Demography. 1981 Feb;18(1):39-54.


Analysis of the 1973 National Survey of Family Growth shows a continued downward trend in breast feeding by successive cohorts of American mothers. The downward trend is evident in both measures of incidence (ever-breast feeding) and duration of breast feeding for first and higher-order births. For all cohorts higher-order births are less likely to be breast fed than first births. However, breast feeding of higher-order births is typically of a longer duration. Differentials in breast feeding reveal strong associations with indicators of social class; women who are college graduates, who work as professionals, and who are married to professional husbands are most likely to breast-feed their infants. Differentials in average duration of breast feeding are often reversed from differentials in ever-breast feeding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Order
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • United States