Patterns of Daily Duration and Frequency of Breastfeeding among Exclusively Breastfed Infants in Shiraz, Iran, a 6-month Follow-up Study Using Bayesian Generalized Linear Mixed Models

  •  Azadeh Saki    
  •  Mohammad Eshraghian    
  •  Hamed Tabesh    


Introduction: Despite numerous studies on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding during the first half year of life, little information is available on actual breastfeeding practices in terms of daily duration and frequency of suckling. This study proposes to determine daily breastfeeding patterns among exclusively breastfed infants from birth to six months.

Subject and Methods: An observational prospective follow-up study of daily feeding practices among exclusively breastfed infants was conducted in 2007/2008. Mothers were recruited and interviewed during their first month postpartum health center visit. A total of 287 mothers were recruited into the study. Primary outcome measures were suckling duration and frequency of breastfeeding during daytime and nighttime. Mothers were asked at each healthcare visit to report the daily duration in minutes and the daily number of breastfeeding sessions. Mixed models were used to determine breastfeeding patterns and predictors.

Results: Of 287 mothers selected for this study, 174 (61%) exclusively breastfeeding until six months after delivery. Mixed modeling showed that as the infant’s age increased duration of one suckling, cumulative duration and frequency of breastfeeding during daytime, nighttime and a twenty four hour period all gradually decreased. Infants gender and receiving professional advice about breastfeeding were also significant factors in breastfeeding patterns (p<0.05).

Conclusions: The one suckling duration and frequency of feeds in this study population were considerably higher than values reported in other populations. The variation of feeding patterns between exclusively breastfed infants was very wide. The distributions of one suckling duration, frequency of breastfeeding and cumulative duration of feeds were right-skewed. The current professional advices about breastfeeding are not appropriate because they do not consider unique condition within specific populations.

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