Breastfeeding in northern Italy

P. Santini, M. G. Calevo, M. R. Caviglia, T. Asprea, W. Bonacci, G. Serra, M. Cotellessa, G. Revello, M. Corciulo, A. Boscarini, S. Malvasio, R. Renda, P. Schiavetti, M. Ivaldi, M. F. Corona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To describe the duration and type, as classified by World Health Organization (WHO) criteria, of breastfeeding in Ligurian newborns up to 1 year of age, and to identify possible related factors. Methods: A prospective, observational study on a cohort of 757 women recruited in 10 hospitals in Northern Italy. Women were followed up by means of a questionnaire at discharge and by telephone interviews in the 4th, 12th, 24th and 48th weeks postpartum using the 'recall period' method. Results: At discharge, 97.3% of mothers had started breastfeeding; regional breastfeeding rates at the 4th, 12th, 24th and 48th weeks were respectively 84.4%, 71.2%, 54.4% and 26.3%. Socio-demographic factors did not significantly influence these percentages. Median duration of breastfeeding was 6.5 months. No statistically significant differences were observed in duration of breastfeeding between women who started exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) and those who did predominant breastfeeding (PBF), while the difference was statistically significant when comparing complementary breastfeeding (CBF) with EBF and with PBF. Conclusions: Our study is the first regional experience in the Liguria region and represents a starting point for the diffusion of the culture of breastfeeding. Our results are satisfactory with regards to the overall duration of breastfeeding until the first year of life (26.3%), while duration of EBF (9.5% at the 24th week) is still unsatisfactory according to WHO objectives that include EBF for all children up to the sixth month of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-619
Number of pages7
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


  • Breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding duration
  • Breastfeeding epidemiology
  • Breastfeeding type
  • Exclusive breastfeeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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