Study to explore why women stop breastfeeding

December 6, 2007

Eighty to 90 per cent of new mothers start breastfeeding when their baby is first born because they are aware of the enormous benefits of breastmilk, however 25 per cent of new mothers will have stopped breastfeeding by the time their baby is six weeks old. Why?

Associate Professor Virginia Schmied from the N-FORCE Research Group within the School of Nursing at UWS has received a $100,000 Australian Research Council grant to answer this question, and will study the factors that influence this concerning trend - one that is impacting on Australian families' health and incurring significant health service costs.

Associate Professor Schmied says women's experiences of breastfeeding are unique and complex and their decisions about breastfeeding are influenced by many factors.

High on this list of contributing factors is the role and influence of health professionals such as midwives and lactation consultants.

"While professional support from midwives and lactation consultants can have a significant and positive effect on helping new mums to begin breastfeeding, unfortunately we're still not seeing an increase in the length of time that new mums continue to breastfeed," Associate Professor Schmied says.

Breastfeeding protects babies from a range of diseases, particularly gastroenteritis and ear infections, and is one of the most cost-effective health promotion activities available.

Associate Professor Schmied is concerned that new mothers are not receiving the assistance and support that they need from health professionals in the early days following birth. She says more knowledge is needed about how midwives and lactation consultants understand their role, and how this role is carried out in caring for breastfeeding mothers.

"The health benefits of supporting women to breastfeed longer can be matched by the dollar savings that can be made. It is estimated that if the 60 per cent of mothers currently still breastfeeding beyond three months were to be increased to 80 per cent, a saving of approximately $11.5 million in health costs could be made every year," Associate Professor Schmied says.

"By gaining an in-depth understanding of the practices that health professionals use to inform and encourage women to breastfeed, we can help to unveil the hidden factors that can ensure women are supported to breastfeed longer."

Source: University of Western Sydney

Explore further: Online calculator estimates the impact of changes in breastfeeding rates on population health

Related Stories

Online calculator estimates the impact of changes in breastfeeding rates on population health

September 15, 2017
In a new study published in Breastfeeding Medicine, researchers have created an online calculator to estimate the impact of changes in breastfeeding rates on population health.

Hormonal IUDs have no effect on lactation or breastfeeding

August 25, 2017
Having a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) implanted immediately after birth does not affect a woman's ability to lactate and breastfeed, according to new research by investigators at University of Utah Health and University ...

Swings in dad's testosterone affects the family—for better or worse—after baby arrives

September 5, 2017
Postpartum depression is often associated with mothers, but a new study shows that fathers face a higher risk of experiencing it themselves if their testosterone levels drop nine months after their children are born.

Banned flame retardants pose ongoing concerns about potential effects on developing brains

August 30, 2017
Additional measures may be needed to limit the potential effects of a mixture of flame retardants on the mental development of babies and young children, new research from Brunel University London concludes.

Does socioeconomic status affect women's decisions not to continue breastfeeding?

June 26, 2017
A new study has shown that among women who intended to breastfeed, nearly 25% of those defined as socioeconomically (SE) marginalized stopped after only 1 month, compared to about 7% of the women in the SE privileged group. ...

Public health at risk when opinion trumps evidence

July 12, 2017
In the Trump era, we have seen dramatic reductions in dialogue on important issues of the day. We have seen attacks on the legitimacy of science. We have seen attacks on trusted news sources, derided as fake. On social media, ...

Recommended for you

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.