Survey: Most breastfeeding mothers stop early

August 13, 2008

The majority of mothers who breastfeed discontinue the practice before the baby is 6 months old, according to a national survey by Brigham Young University.

The majority of mothers who breastfeed discontinue the practice before the baby is 6 months old, according to a national survey by researchers at Brigham Young University.

The results, which were published in the August Journal of Human Lactation, showed that although 77% of mothers surveyed begin breastfeeding, only 36% of babies are breastfed through 6 months of age. This is short of the federal government's goal to reach 50% of babies breastfed through 6 months by 2010.

The survey also found that breastfeeding rates were lowest in areas where infant health is considered most at risk, such as the Baltimore and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, where 30% of babies were breastfed through 6 months of age.

The investigators recommend that efforts to increase breastfeeding rates could target mothers who live in high-risk areas and mothers who are less educated.