Breastfeeding and risk for ceasing in mothers of preterm infants-long-term follow-up



Ericson J, Eriksson M, Hellstrom-Westas L, Hoddinott P & Flacking R (2018) Breastfeeding and risk for ceasing in mothers of preterm infants-long-term follow-up. Maternal and Child Nutrition, 14 (4), Art. No.: e12618.

Breastfeeding is challenging for mothers of preterm infants. The aim of this paper is to describe risk factors for ceasing breastfeeding and methods of feeding until 12 months postnatal age in mothers who breastfed their preterm infants at discharge from neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The data come from a randomised controlled trial, which evaluated the effectiveness on exclusive breastfeeding at 8 weeks of proactive telephone support compared to reactive support offered to mothers of preterm infants following discharge from NICU. Six NICUs across Sweden randomised a total 493 mothers. We used regression and survival analyses to assess the risk factors for ceasing breastfeeding and the long-term outcomes of the intervention. The results showed that 305 (64%) of the infants were breastfed at six months and 49 (21%) at 12 months. Partial breastfeeding at discharge, low maternal educational level and longer length of stay in the NICU increased the risk for ceasing breastfeeding during the first 12 months. Furthermore, the Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that the proportion of mothers who ceased breastfeeding did not differ between the intervention (n=231) and controls (n=262) during the first 12 months (Log rank test p=0.68). No difference was found between groups on method of feeding. More than 85% of the infants were fed directly at the breast. These findings provide important insights for health professionals who are supporting mothers of preterm infants to breastfeed long-term. Registered in (NCT01806480).

breast milk; bottle; feeding; RCT; mother; neonatal; preterm

Maternal and Child Nutrition: Volume 14, Issue 4

Publication date31/10/2018
Publication date online07/05/2018
Date accepted by journal15/03/2018

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Professor Pat Hoddinott

Professor Pat Hoddinott

Chair in Primary Care, NMAHP