Published Papers - Abstract 1104

Moss KM, Dobson AJ, Tooth L & Mishra GD. Which Australian women do not exclusively breastfeed to 6 months, and why? Journal of Human Lactation, 2020; :

Background: Rates of exclusive breastfeeding in Australia lag behind international targets. Reasons for non- exclusive breastfeeding are poorly understood.Research aims: To describe demographic profiles of participants reporting different feeding practices, and reasons for not exclusively breastfeeding to 6 months.Methods: Demographics for 2888 mothers (5340 children) and reasons for 1879 mothers (3018 children) from the Mothers and Their Children’s Health Study (a sub- study of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health) were examined using descriptive statistics and multivariable regression.Results: Only 34.4% of children were exclusively breastfed to 6 months. Five non- exclusive feeding practices were identi-fied: never breastfed (3.9%), breastfed < 6 months (20.8%), and breastfed to 6 months but had formula (6.8%), solids (24.5%), or both formula and solids (9.7%). Mothers of children who received < 6 months of human milk were more likely to have a lower education, be overweight/obese, smoke, and live in cities (compared to mothers of children exclusively breastfed). Reasons for never breastfeeding and for breastfeeding < 6 months were primarily insufficient milk and breastfeeding difficul-ties (e.g., latching issues). Reasons for introducing solids were primarily cues for solids (e.g., showing interest). Reasons for formula were insufficient milk and practical considerations (e.g., return to work). Reasons for both solids and formula were diverse, including insufficient milk, weaning cues, and practical considerations.Conclusions: Mothers who did not exclusively breastfeed to 6 months were a heterogeneous group, indicating that both targeted and universal strategies are required to increase rates of exclusive breastfeeding. Support should encompass the broad range of feeding practices.