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Exclusive and any breast-feeding rates of Pacific infants in Auckland: data from the Pacific Islands Families First Two Years of Life study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2007

Philip J Schluter*
Affiliation:
Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1020, New Zealand
Sarnia Carter
Affiliation:
Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1020, New Zealand
Teuila Percival
Affiliation:
Kidz First Children's Hospital and Community Services, Auckland, New Zealand
*
*Corresponding author: Email philip.schluter@aut.ac.nz
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Abstract

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Objectives

To present current breast-feeding rates for Pacific infants resident in New Zealand. Reasons for the introduction of complementary liquid foods were also explored.

Design

A longitudinal study using hospital discharge summary records and maternal home interviews undertaken at 6 weeks, 12 and 24 months postpartum. Turnbull's non-parametric survival analysis was used to model exclusive breast-feeding rates.

Setting

Auckland, New Zealand.

Results

The cohort comprised 1376 infants at 6 weeks, 1223 infants at 12 months and 1142 infants at 24 months. Exclusive breast-feeding rates at hospital discharge, 6 weeks, 3 and 6 months postpartum were 84% (95% confidence interval (CI): 80–88%), 49% (95% CI: 43–55%), 37% (95% CI: 32–42%) and 9% (95% CI: 7–11%), respectively. Significant ethnic difference existed, with Samoan mothers having higher exclusive breast-feeding rates than Tongan mothers (P = 0.002). The percentage of infants receiving any breast milk at hospital discharge, 6 weeks, 12 and 24 months was 96% (95% CI: 94–97%), 95% (95% CI: 94–96%), 31% (95% CI: 28–34%) and 15% (95% CI: 13–17%), respectively. Again ethnic differences emerged. Common reasons cited for discontinuation of exclusive breast-feeding included uncertainty of breast milk supply (56%), problems with breasts (30%) and difficulties breast-feeding in work or educational environments (26%). However, 691 (50%) mothers sought no advice about their breast-feeding concerns within the first six weeks of life.

Conclusions

Exclusive breast-feeding rates for Pacific infants are ethnically heterogeneous, have declined since the 1990s and fall short of the World Health Organization recommendations. The principal reasons cited for exclusive breast-feeding discontinuation echo those reported over a decade ago.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Authors 2006

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