Breastfeeding provides the optimal nutrition for infants and offers numerous benefits for both mother and child. The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life and the introduction of complementary feeding between the fifth and seventh months of life. There is a discrepancy between breastfeeding recommendations and the actual duration of breastfeeding. The aim of this study was to analyse breastfeeding behaviour in primiparous women in order to be able to provide support for mothers.
In this prospective, questionnaire-based study conducted between 2020 and 2022, primiparous women were asked to complete three questionnaires at three defined survey time points (routine prepartum presentation, postpartum hospitalization, completed sixth month of life).
A total of 140 women were included and returned all three questionnaires. Fifty-eight percent performed breastfeeding exclusively at least until their baby had reached the age of 6 months, whereas 20% already stopped within the first 6 months. The main reasons given for early cessation were insufficient milk supply and inadequate infant weight gain. A comprehensive level of prepartum knowledge had a significant positive effect on participants’ sense of confidence with breastfeeding. Sociodemographic factors such as age and educational level were also associated with breastfeeding behaviour, but significant corresponding differences in the duration of breastfeeding were not observed. Women with postpartum midwifery care breastfed significantly longer (p < 0.05).
Breastfeeding behaviour and duration are influenced by multiple factors. Although certain sociodemographic factors are unalterable, comprehensive prepartum knowledge transfer and postpartum midwifery care have a positive impact on breastfeeding behaviour.
The study was retrospectively registered at the German Clinical Trials Register (Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien, DRKS) on 6 December 2022 (DRKS00030763).