Breast milk feeding rates of mothers of multiples compared to mothers of singletons

Geraghty, S.R.; Pinney, S.M.; Sethuraman, G.; Roy-Chaudhury, A.; Kalkwarf, H.J.

Ambulatory Pediatrics the Official Journal of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association 4(3): 226-231


ISSN/ISBN: 1530-1567
PMID: 15153054
DOI: 10.1367/a03-165r1.1
Accession: 004060447

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Over 3% of infants born annually in the United States are from a multiple gestation pregnancy, yet there is little data published about the feeding practices of their mothers. The objectives of this study were to determine and compare the rates of breast milk feeding of mothers of multiples and mothers of singletons. Stratified random sampling (n = 686) on the basis of plurality of pregnancy and gestational age at delivery was performed on a 1999 birth certificate database in the greater Cincinnati area. We collected information about infant feeding during the first 6 months of life using a retrospective, self-administered questionnaire and phone interview from mothers of term singletons (TS), preterm singletons (PS), term multiples (TM), and preterm multiples (PM). Data were analyzed using chi-square and logistic or multiple regression. We obtained feeding information from 346 mothers (n = 81 TS, 80 PS, 90 TM, and 95 PM). By 3 days postpartum, PM provided breast milk less often than all other groups: TS = 69%, PS = 66%, TM = 73%, PM = 57% (P =.035). Among mothers who initiated breast milk feeding, the geometric mean duration of at least some breast milk feeding was significantly shorter for PM than for all other groups: TS = 23 weeks, PS = 19 weeks, TM = 24 weeks, and PM = 12 weeks (P =.002). Further evaluation of the potential causes for the lower breast milk feeding rates among PM is needed to develop effective intervention strategies and increase the number of preterm multiple gestation infants receiving breast milk.