Why some mothers extend breastfeeding

Mothers who decide to breastfeed their children beyond one year of age are driven more by their concerns for their children's physical and social development than the advice of health care professionals, family and friends, found a research.

New York: Mothers who decide to breastfeed their children beyond one year of age are driven more by their concerns for their children's physical and social development than the advice of health care professionals, family and friends, found a research.

"The three most important reasons that mothers gave for extended nursing were the nutritional benefits of breast milk, the other health benefits of breast milk and the opportunity to build a stronger social bond with their baby," said principal investigator Alexis Tchaconas from the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York, US.

To find out why some mothers choose to continue nursing after a child's first birthday, researchers surveyed more than 50,000 US women ages 18-50.

The investigators designed an online survey that asked mothers to rank 15 factors related to extended breastfeeding as "very important," "important," "somewhat important" or "not important".

Besides health benefits and bonding with their child, other top factors that influenced mothers to breastfeed beyond one year included enjoyment, support from spouse or partner and not having to pay for formula.

"The recommendations of health care professionals were not identified as being important in terms of the mother's decision to extend nursing," pointed out Andrew Adesman, senior investigator also the from Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York.

The findings will be presented Monday at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in San Diego.

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