Breastfeeding by Aboriginal mothers in Perth

C.W. Binns, D. Gilchrist, B. Woods, M. Gracey, J. Scott, H. Smith, Min Zhang, B. Roberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective:  To document the breastfeeding practices of Aboriginal mothers delivering in Perth.Design and methods:  A cohort of mothers was followed from the time of delivery for six months to obtain details of infant feeding practices.Subjects:  A total of 455 mothers delivered during the study period and were asked to participate. A total of 425 mothers completed the initial questionnaire.Setting:  The study was undertaken in six public hospitals in Perth, Western Australia.Data analyses:  The data were analysed using spss. Breastfeeding duration was calculated using Kaplan–Meier survival analysis.Main outcome measures:  Breastfeeding initiation and duration.Results:  The mean age of the Aboriginal mothers was 21.8 years (range 14–39 years, SD 5.32) and the average gestational age was 38.3 weeks. Almost 50% of the mothers in the study delivered by Caesarean section. At discharge from hospital 89.4% (CI 86.6–92.1) of mothers were breastfeeding, declining to 58.8% (CI 53.5–64.1) at six months. When compared with non-Aboriginal mothers, the Aboriginal breastfeeding rates were higher than the non-Aboriginal average breastfeeding rates, but lower than the highest socioeconomic group.Conclusions:  The breastfeeding rates of Aboriginal mothers are higher than for other Australians. This is despite the low maternal age and level of education and the high rates of low-birth-weight infants and Caesarean section among this population. The World Health Organization recommendation for infant feeding is exclusive breastfeeding until six months, but less than one-third of Aboriginal mothers achieved this recommendation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-14
JournalNutrition & Dietetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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