Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

As good as chocolate and better than ice-cream: Study asks Aussie tots about breastfeeding

05.08.2005


Breastfeeding toddlers: it’s considered a social no-no, which means very few mothers end up breastfeeding their babies past 12 months of age. A University of Western Sydney researcher has carried out Australia’s first study of mums and bubs who breastfeed beyond infancy - looking at why these women are bucking the trend against premature weaning, and asking the toddlers themselves how they feel about breastfeeding.



Dr Karleen Gribble from the UWS School of Nursing, Family and Community Health surveyed 107 Australian mothers aged 21 to 45 years, who were breastfeeding 114 children at least two years of age or older.

Dr Gribble asked the women about their breastfeeding history, how they felt about breastfeeding an older child, and aspects of the mother-child relationship. In a first, the survey also contained a number of questions for the mothers to ask the children, who ranged in age from 24 to 78 months.


Released to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August), the study not only sheds light on why the mothers continue to breastfeed, but reveals how the children - who spoke of ’being able to cuddle mummy’ and enjoying the ’yummy’ taste of breastmilk - play an important role in the decision-making process.

The overwhelming majority of mothers - 92 per cent - enjoyed breastfeeding their children, and felt it had helped strengthen the mother-child relationship.

However breastfeeding a toddler wasn’t something the mothers had necessarily planned. 75 per cent didn’t intend to breastfeed past 12 months, however their increased confidence and knowledge about breastfeeding, and a sense of their own enjoyment and that of the child, encouraged them to delay weaning.

92 per cent of mothers reported that breastfeeding their previous children had influenced their current experience, with many motivated to breastfeed for longer this time around.

Dr Gribble says despite recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that children be breastfed up to two years of age or beyond, and the proven health benefits for both mother and child, many still question the value of continuing to breastfeed beyond 12 months.

"The associated social stigma has meant the practice of breastfeeding older babies and toddlers is hidden behind closed doors. Less than one per cent of Australian children are breastfeeding on their second birthday. As a result, the breastfeeding of older toddlers has been largely ignored in research, and is poorly understood," says Dr Gribble.

Dr Gribble says her research reveals the decision to continue to breastfeed beyond infancy is as much a desire of the child as it is the mother.

"Only 7 per cent of women said they had intended to breastfeed this long. The choice to initiate and continue breastfeeding is usually couched in terms of maternal decision making, but it’s evident from this study that as a child grows that it becomes a mutually-negotiated decision," says Dr Gribble.

"For these mothers, there was a change in their own attitude, usually as a result of seeing others breastfeed toddlers, or their increasing knowledge and confidence, or their own enjoyment of breastfeeding. However the most common reason for continuing to breastfeed was that the child simply enjoyed it, and did not want to wean."

Dr Gribble says many of mothers were happy to continue breastfeeding because they found it easier and more enjoyable than they first anticipated.

"60 per cent of mothers said breastfeeding had gotten easier over time, while just five per cent stated that breastfeeding had become more difficult. Many of the women had actually overcome significant difficulties to continue breastfeeding, such as early attachment problems, pain, post-natal depression, childhood sexual abuse, major illness, serious allergy, and multiple births," she says.

Mums believed their toddlers continued to enjoy breastfeeding primarily because it provided comfort; secondly, because of the intimacy and closeness involved; thirdly because they were hungry; and fourthly because they simply liked the taste of breastmilk - which was clearly backed up by the children.

"When children were asked about breastfeeding, nearly all said they breastfed because they loved it - they liked the milk and it made them feel happy or good," says Dr Gribble.

"Children made comments like: ’I like cuddling Mummy, it’s my treat’ or breastmilk tastes ’as good as chocolate’ and ’better than ice-cream’."

Dr Gribble says low breastfeeding continuation rates are a major concern for health care professionals across Australia - not only because premature weaning means more illness in infants, but because of longer term consequences for the child and mother, contributing significantly to health care costs.

"We can learn a lot from the women in this study about how and why they persisted with breastfeeding. This may help to encourage more women to continue with breastfeeding through and beyond infancy for the benefit of both mothers and children," says Dr Gribble.

Dr Gribble will present the results of her study at an international breastfeeding conference in Hobart in September.

Amanda Whibley | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uws.edu.au

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>