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Background: Breast milk is widely accepted as the best nutrition for all newborn infants. Preterm infants probably gain more benefits from breast milk than term infants because they are at higher risk for having several morbidities.
Objective: To determine the rate of 4-month exclusive or predominant breastfeeding and partial breastfeeding in preterm infants, and to determine the promoting factors of successful breastfeeding.
Methods: This was a cohort study in mothers of preterm infants with gestational age â‰¤ 34 weeks and birth weight â‰¤ 2000 grams. The mother-infant dyads were followed until 4 months of age.
Results: The study period was between 1 March 2009 and 28 February 2010. There were 90 mothers recruited. Data of 74 mothers with complete follow up were analyzed. The mean maternal age was 29.67 Â± 7.43 years old. The median gestational age at delivery was 31 (interquartile range 4) weeks. Mean infants birth weight was 1412.71 Â± 339.18 grams. The rates of exclusive or predominant and partial breastfeeding were 32.4% and 29.7%, respectively. Mother works at home, maternity leave, mothers stay with infants during hospitalization and exclusive breastfeeding in the last 24 hours before discharge were associated with 4-month exclusive or predominant breastfeeding. After multiple logistic regression analysis, factors significantly associated with successful exclusive breastfeeding were mothers work at home (adjusted OR 6.77, 95%CI 1.80-25.55), previous breastfeeding experience (5.09, 95%CI 1.39-18.65), mothers stay with infants during hospitalization (4.22, 1.17-15.22) and exclusive breastfeeding in the last 24 hours before discharge (4.70, 1.17-18.89).
Conclusion: Exclusive breastfeeding in preterm infants is possible. Mothers stay with their infants during long hospitalization and exclusive breastfeeding during the last 24 hours before discharge are significant promoting factors that should be supported by health personnel. Mother works at home is the other significant promoting factor of successful 4-months exclusive or predominant breastfeeding.
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