, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 167-179

Factors Associated with Very Early Weaning Among Primiparas Intending to Breastfeed

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Abstract

Objectives: The major objective of this study was to identify predictor variables that accurately differentiated breastfeeding women who weaned during the first 4 weeks, those who weaned between 5 and 26 weeks, and those who weaned after 26 weeks. Predictors were demographic variables, Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) variables, breastfeeding knowledge, and difficulties experienced during the first month. Methods: Primiparas who delivered healthy infants in an urban midwestern hospital provided initial data prior to discharge. Follow-up occurred at 1,3,6,9, and 12 months. Following appropriate bivariate analyses, polychotomous logistic regression was used to determine predictors of weaning group. Linear multiple regression was used to predict intended duration. Results: Most of the 84 women who weaned very early had intended to breastfeed considerably longer. According to the multivariate analysis, women who weaned earlier were younger, had completed fewer years of education, had a more positive bottle-feeding attitude and a less positive breastfeeding attitude, intended to breastfeed less time, had lower knowledge scores, had higher perceived insufficient milk scores, and planned to work outside the home. Variables postulated by the TPB to be direct predictors of intention explained 36% of the variance in intended duration. Conclusions: Women at risk for early weaning can be identified with reasonable accuracy using a TPB-based conceptual framework expanded to include breastfeeding specific variables. Casefinding using empirically derived screening methods and careful postpartum follow-up, along with professional intervention, should be used to avert unintended early weaning.