1ACP dello Stretto
2TI&M Tecnologie Informatiche e Medicina, Messina
3CESIST, Università di Messina
Key words: Breastfeeding, Epidemiology, Perinatal care
A national inquiry on breastfeeding was carried out on a cohort of 2795 newborn babies.151 family paediatricians from 13 different areas of Italy were involved in the study. 2535 babies completed the 6 month follow-up. Prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding at discharge from hospital was 65.9%. Prevalence of breastfeeding at 3rd month was 46.2%. Only for a small minority of babies (2.4%) the WHO/UNICEF recommendations for successful breastfeeding were entirely followed. Late initiation of breastfeeding after birth (76.5%), administration of human milk surrogates at maternity (62.3%), breastfeeding at fixed hours (78.3%) and other inappropriate routines were common. Multivariate analysis showed that successful initiation of breastfeeding was more prevalent among babies who were left free to breastfeed on request and whose mothers attended prenatal courses or had previous breastfeeding experience. Duration of breastfeeding was directly related to discharge from maternity with exclusive breastfeeding, compliance with WHO/UNICEF recommendations, previous breastfeeding experience and absence of parental smoking. Promotion of breastfeeding is far from being universal practice among health professionals involved in perinatal care in Italy.
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