Factors associated with initiation and duration of breastfeeding in Italy

E. Riva, G. Banderali, C. Agostoni, M. Silano, G. Radaelli, M. Giovannini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To evaluate factors associated with initiation and duration of breastfeeding in Italy, 1601 (73%) respondents among 2192 randomly selected mothers were interviewed within 1 mo of delivery. Mothers who started breastfeeding (85%) were followed-up for 12 mo. A compliance rate of 100% was obtained. At multiple logistic regression analysis, mother having been breastfed herself (p <0.01), nursing guidance in the maternity ward (p = 0.01) and higher social class (p = 0.03) were positively associated with initiation of breastfeeding. We found that 42%, 19%, 10% and 4% mothers were still breastfeeding at 3, 6, 9 and 12 mo after delivery, respectively. Cox multiple regression analysis showed a negative association between duration of breastfeeding and pacifier use (p <0.01), and a positive association with a higher level of maternal education (p = 0.04). Formula supplementation in the maternity ward (given to 30% of infants) was associated with a shorter duration of exclusive breastfeeding (p = 0.03). Mothers need support with breastfeeding, particularly those from lower social backgrounds and with lower levels of education. Early use of the pacifier should be discouraged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-415
Number of pages5
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Breastfeeding duration
  • Breastfeeding initiation
  • Breastfeeding practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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