Published Papers - Abstract 853

Holowko N, Jones M, Tooth L, Koupil I & Mishra G. High education and increased parity are associated with breastfeeding initiation and duration among Australian women. Public Health Nutrition, 2016; 21: 2019-11-1

Objective: Breast-feeding is associated with positive maternal and infant health and development outcomes. To assist identifying women less likely to meet infantnutritional guidelines, we investigated the role of socio-economic position and parity on initiation of and sustaining breast-feeding for at least 6 months.Design: Prospective cohort study.Setting: Australia.Subjects: Parous women from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (born 1973–78), with self-reported reproductive and breast-feeding history(N 4777).Results: While 89% of women (83% of infants) had ever breast-fed, only 60% of infants were breast-fed for at least 6 months. Multiparous women were more likelyto breast-feed their first child (~90% v. ~71% of primiparous women), and women who breast-fed their first child were more likely to breast-feed subsequentchildren. Women with a low education (adjusted OR (95% CI): 209 (167, 262)) or a very low-educated parent (147 (116, 188)) had increased odds of notinitiating breast-feeding with their first or subsequent children. While fewer women initiated breast-feeding with their youngest child, this was mostpronounced among high-educated women. While ~60% of women breast-fed their first, second and third child for at least 6 months, low-educated women(first child, adjusted OR (95% CI): 219 (179, 268)) and women with a very low (182 (149, 222)) or low-educated parent (169 (133, 214)) had increased odds ofnot breast-feeding for at least 6 months. Conclusions: A greater understanding of barriers to initiating and sustaining breastfeeding, some of which are socio-economic-specific, may assist in reducing inequalities in infant breast-feeding.