Nagy, E., Orvos, H., Pál, A., Kovács, L., and Loveland, K.: Breastfeeding duration and previous breastfeeding experience. Acta Paediatrica, in press.
The aim of this study was to examine the effect of the duration of earlier breastfeeding experience on the duration of breastfeeding with subsequent births. Medical records of 327 women were analyzed who had at least two deliveries, 89 of whom had three deliveries. The average duration of breastfeeding increased from 6.01 months to 6.85 months with the second baby, but did not increase significantly with the third baby. A significant negative correlation was found between the duration of first breastfeeding and the change of breastfeeding duration at the
second breastfeeding. Mothers who breastfed their first children for 0-7 months significantly increased the breastfeeding duration with the second child, whereas mothers who breastfed their firstborn for 8 months or longer, significantly reduced their breastfeeding with the second baby.
Results supported earlier studies that showed duration of breastfeeding of the second child is significantly related to previous breastfeeding experience. Results also suggest that previous breastfeeding experience may lead mothers to regulate duration of subsequent breastfeeding toward a level that is optimal for them. Results are interpreted with respect to societal changes in breastfeeding patterns, as well as the role of maternal learning in breastfeeding behavior.