Objective To determine predictors of intention to breastfeed and breastfeeding follow-through in a low-income, urban-dwelling sample.
Methods A total of 301 Dominican, Mexican and African-American mother-infant dyads, recruited at three major NYC hospitals, participated in the Metrobaby cohort study. At baseline, face-to-face interviews were conducted with the mother within three days of the baby’s birth. A telephone follow-up interview was completed with the mother when the baby was one month old, and again at six months of age. Using logistic regression, mother’s age, race, place of birth, education, relationship with father, household income, number of household members, cohabitation with partner and work status, were entered as predictors of three separate outcomes: (1) intention to breastfeed at baby’s birth, (2) breastfeeding at one month, and (3) breastfeeding at six months.
Results At time of baby’s birth, 85% of mothers stated intention to breastfeed. When infants were one month, 64% of mothers were breastfeeding and when infants were six months, 32% were still breastfeeding. Univariate analysis showed race, place of birth (US or other) and cohabiting were significantly associated with all three outcomes. Only mother’s work status was significantly associated with breastfeeding follow-through when infants were 6 months. Mothers who were working, regardless of occupation, were 53% less likely to breastfeed (95% CI 20% to 90%) than those who did not work.
Conclusions The finding that cohabitation and work status significantly predicted breastfeeding follow-through at one and six months has important implications in designing strategies to increase partner and employer support during the breastfeeding process.