Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of gestation on initiation and duration of breastfeeding in Australian infants.
Methods: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children recruited a national sample of children born between March 2003 and February 2004 (n = 3600 in this multivariate sample).
Results: Breastfeeding initiation was lower for infants of 35–36 weeks’ gestation (88.2%) than 37–39 weeks’ gestation (92.0%) and ⩾40 weeks’ gestation (93.9%). At 6 months, 41.2% of infants 35–36 weeks’ gestation were breastfeeding compared with 54.5% of 37–39 weeks’ gestation infants and 60.5% of infants born ⩾40 weeks. Compared with infants born ⩾40 weeks, infants born at 35–36 weeks had an adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 0.51 (95% CI 0.34 to 0.76) and infants born at 37–39 weeks had an adjusted OR of 0.80 (95% CI 0.69 to 0.93) of breastfeeding at 6 months.
Conclusion: Infants born before 40 weeks are at greater risk of being artificially fed than infants born ⩾40 weeks.
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Competing interests: None.
Funding: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. The authors received no funding for this analysis.
Ethics approval: The study was approved by the Australian Institute of Family Studies Ethics Committee.
Patient consent: Written informed consent was obtained for each participating child.
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