To describe the prevalence and factors associated with not meeting desired breastfeeding duration.
Data were analyzed from 1177 mothers aged ≥18 years who responded to monthly surveys from pregnancy until their child was 1 year old. When breastfeeding stopped, mothers were asked whether they breastfed as long as they wanted (yes or no) and to rate the importance of 32 reasons for stopping on a 4-point Likert scale. Multiple logistic regressions were used to examine the association between the importance of each reason and the likelihood of mothers not meeting their desired breastfeeding duration.
Approximately 60% of mothers who stopped breastfeeding did so earlier than desired. Early termination was positively associated with mothers’ concerns regarding: (1) difficulties with lactation; (2) infant nutrition and weight; (3) illness or need to take medicine; and (4) the effort associated with pumping milk.
Our findings indicate that the major reasons why mothers stop breastfeeding before they desire include concerns about maternal or child health (infant nutrition, maternal illness or the need for medicine, and infant illness) and processes associated with breastfeeding (lactation and milk-pumping problems). Continued professional support may be necessary to address these challenges and help mothers meet their desired breastfeeding duration.