(HealthDay News) — Use of supplementation with in-hospital formula shortens the duration of breastfeeding among first-time mothers who intend to breastfeed exclusively, according to research published online February 19 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Caroline J. Chantry, MD, of the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, and colleagues assessed the strength of breastfeeding intentions in a cohort of expectant mothers. After the birth, the researchers monitored infant feeding practices through day 60 and then examined the association between in-hospital formula supplementation and breastfeeding behaviors. The authors note that 210 (53%) infants were exclusively breastfed during the maternity stay while 183 (47%) received in-hospital formula supplementation.

The researchers found that the mothers most frequently cited perceived insufficient milk supply (18%), signs of inadequate intake (16%t), and poor latch or breastfeeding (14%) as reasons for supplementing infant feeding with in-hospital formula. Compared with mothers who exclusively breastfed their babies, mothers who supplemented with in-hospital formula were more likely to not fully breastfeed during days 30–60 (67.8 vs. 36.7%; intention-adjusted relative risk [ARR], 1.8) and more likely to stop breastfeeding by day 60 (32.8 vs. 10.5%; ARR, 2.7). The relative risks of not fully breastfeeding and ceasing breastfeeding increased significantly with number of in-hospital formula feeds.

“Strategies should be sought to avoid unnecessary in-hospital formula supplementation and to support breastfeeding when in-hospital formula supplementation is unavoidable,” the authors write.

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