Background: Factors associated with breastfeeding need to be explored in the northwest of China. Objective: This study aimed to measure the full duration of breastfeeding and identify factors associated with breastfeeding in Shihezi City in Northwest China. Methods: A prospective cohort study was undertaken to obtain details of child feeding practices using structured questionnaires in 2007-2010. Before discharge from hospitals, 681 mothers were randomly recruited and interviewed in maternity units for breastfeeding. After discharge, the mothers were contacted by telephone at monthly intervals within the first 6 months and then at 2-month intervals until discontinuation of breastfeeding. Results: The breastfeeding initiation rate was 95.9%. The breastfeeding rates then declined to 69.6% at 6 months, 29.7% at 12 months, and 2.3% at 24 months. The median duration of "any breastfeeding" was 9 months. The exclusive breastfeeding rate was low because of the high rate of prelacteal and early complementary feeding. Cox regression analyses revealed that mothers who had preterm babies believed that breast milk could not meet infants' needs and intended to breastfeed for less than 6 months, and mothers with late onset of lactogenesis II and whose parents lived in Xinjiang were more likely to stop breastfeeding. Younger maternal age, employment, and suffering from illness were also associated with a shorter duration of breastfeeding. Conclusion: The duration of "exclusive" and "any breastfeeding" was below the Chinese and World Health Organization breastfeeding goals. Shorter duration of breastfeeding was associated with having grandparents residing within the same province, maternal age, illness and employment, gestational age, and delayed onset of lactogenesis.
- breastfeeding duration
- cohort study