Breastfeeding duration and previous breastfeeding experience
The aim of this study was to examine the effect of duration of earlier breastfeeding on the duration of breastfeeding with subsequent births. Medical records of 327 women who had had at least two deliveries were analysed; 89 of these women had had three deliveries. The average duration of breastfeeding increased from 6.01 mo to 6.85 mo with the second baby, but did not increase significantly with the third. A significant negative correlation was found between duration of first breastfeeding and change of breastfeeding duration at the second breastfeeding. Mothers who breastfed their first child for 0-7 mo significantly increased the duration of breastfeeding with the second child, whereas mothers who breastfed their firstborn for 8 mo or longer significantly reduced breastfeeding with the second baby. <i>Conclusion:</i> Results support earlier studies showing that duration of breastfeeding of the second child is significantly related to previous breastfeeding experience. Results also suggest that previous breastfeeding experience may lead mothers to regulate duration of subsequent breastfeeding toward a level that is optimal for them. The results are interpreted with respect to societal changes in breastfeeding patterns, as well as the role of maternal learning in breastfeeding behaviour.