(HealthDay News) – Most mothers who want to exclusively breastfeed intend to do so for at least three months, but two-thirds of those who intend to breastfeed exclusively are not meeting their intended duration goals.

Cria G. Perrine, PhD, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed survey results from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II. Women completed the questionnaire prenatally and approximately every month after birth for 12 months.

The researchers found that 85% of all 1,457 women who prenatally intended to exclusively breastfeed intended to do so for three months or more. However, only 32.4% of mothers achieved their intended duration. Mothers who were married or multiparous were more likely to achieve their exclusive breastfeeding intention. Mothers who were obese, smoked, or had longer intended exclusive breastfeeding durations were less likely to meet their goals. In Baby-Friendly hospitals, practices associated with achieving exclusive breastfeeding intention were starting breastfeeding within one hour of birth and not being given supplemental feedings or pacifiers. After adjusting for all other hospital practices, the only factor that remained significant was not receiving supplemental feedings (adjusted odds ratio, 2.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.8–3.1).

“Increased Baby-Friendly hospital practices, particularly giving only breast milk in the hospital, may help more mothers achieve their exclusive breastfeeding intentions,” the authors conclude.

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