A survey is reported of infant feeding practice at the time of discharge from a single maternity ward. It is shown that a change in the attitude of nursing staff increased the number of mothers breast feeding their infants and eliminated the practice of giving the infants formula feed complements. This change in attitude, however, did nothing to prevent the rapid decline in lactation after leaving hospital, such that 50% of mothers discharged breast feeding were no longer doing so by 2 months. The early introduction of solid feeds was common practice, 50% of mothers discharged breast feeding having introduced mixed feeds within 2 months. Successful lactation was found to be commoner in those mothers who had themselves been breast fed in infancy and in mothers from socioeconomic classes I and II. Successful lactation was not related to parity. The survey also shows the influential role of the health visitor, district nurse, and midwife upon mothers' decisions about infant feeding.
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