The reasons for early weaning among mothers in Teheran
H. M. Afzali
A. F. Hossaini
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In order to identify the reasons for early weaning in Tehran, we interviewed 900 mothers using a systematic randomized sampling method. A total of 15% of the mothers were illiterate, 93% were housewives, and 97% had given birth in hospitals. Only 3% of the newborns benefited from rooming-in facilities in hospital, and 68% were bottle-fed while still in hospital. In 3.1% of cases the mother had not breast-fed her newborn at all. Of those who had breast-fed their infant, 38% used only their own milk, whereas 62% used a combination of breast milk and infant formula. The medisn duration of breast-feeding was 16 months (mean, 14 months). A total of 74% of mothers who used supplementary formula and 39% of those who had completely stopped breast-feeding blamed milk insufficiency, although 67% of these mothers had reached this conclusion only because their infants cried or were irritable. The following factors had a negative influence on the duration of breast-feeding: use of supplementary formula and of estrogen-containing oral contraceptives; fathers with high incomes; and mothers with a high educational level. In contrast, the mother's religious motive to breast-feed and her insistence on breast-feeding had a positive impact. Unfortunately, 21% of the mothers started using supplementary formula during the first month postpartum, and two-thirds before the end of the fourth month. Every month that bottle-feeding was started prematurely shortened the duration of breast-feeding by 20 days. On average breast-feeding was initiated 42.5 hours postpartum, and for more than 70% of mothers who breast-fed, 20 hours or more after delivery.