The breastfeeding study

a mixed project project to identify risk factors for unwanted cessation of breastfeeding

The breastfeeding study

Women who struggle with major breastfeeding difficulties may develop a fear of breastfeeding that is so extensive that it makes it impossible for her to breastfeed subsequent children. Overall, this affects the woman's health and well-being, making it more difficult for her to find her way into motherhood.

Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure the health and survival of women and children. It is also a cost-effective intervention to reduce healthcare costs. There is a lack of knowledge about why some mothers stop breastfeeding earlier than they had intended and about which factors affect the duration of breastfeeding. The aim of this study is to identify factors that influence breastfeeding during the first 12 months after delivery. This knowledge is important both for the individual mother who wants to breastfeed and for healthcare professionals who must offer effective breastfeeding support.

This project has a prospective longitudinal mixed method design. We follow mothers from pregnancy to one year after birth or until the end of breastfeeding. A total of 1000 mothers is to be recruited for the project.

A pilot study was carried out in 2022 and showed that the project is feasible. Data on breastfeeding (for example, only, partially, not, breastfeeding initiation, breastfeeding patterns and possible problems), characteristics, diet and health of mothers and children are collected via a mobile application developed for the project. Data on pregnancy and childbirth will be collected from medical records and 25 mothers will be interviewed about their breastfeeding experiences. Breast milk, blood, hair and saliva samples will be collected from a subset of women (n=70). Factors shown to indicate breastfeeding problems as well as markers of stress and inflammation will be examined in these samples.