Breastfeeding to 24 months of age in the northeast of italy: A cohort study

Claudia Carletti, Paola Pani, Alessandra Knowles, Lorenzo Monasta, Marcella Montico, Adriano Cattaneo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: This study assessed the prevalence and duration of breastfeeding up to 24 months and the associated socioeconomic determinants in a birth cohort of children. Methods: Four hundred infants born in a hospital in the north east of Italy were enrolled at birth and followed up for 36 months. Data on infant feeding were gathered through a feeding diary compiled at fixed intervals. Data were also gathered on type of delivery and weight, length, and health status at birth, as well as on selected socioeconomic indicators of the mothers. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to determine any association that exclusivity and duration of breastfeeding may have with selected socioeconomic variables and with health conditions of the infants at birth. Results: Ninety-eight percent of mothers initiated breastfeeding, 69% of them exclusively. This rate, however, had declined to 6% by 6 months. There was a remarkable endurance of breastfeeding at 24 months (12%). The variables significantly associated with exclusive breastfeeding at 3 months and any form of breastfeeding at 12 months are mother's age (p=0.007 at 3 months, p=0.026 at 12 months) and postdischarge hospital admiss=on (p=0.029 at 3 months). Conclusions: In this population, breastfeeding rates are higher than previously reported, but lower than recommended, especially as far as exclusivity is concerned. Full implementation of the World Health Organization-UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiatives in hospitals and communities is needed to improve them further. Monitoring systems should include the collection of data on breastfeeding beyond 12 months of age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-182
Number of pages6
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery
  • Pediatrics
  • Health Policy


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