Breastfeeding practices in military families: A 12-month prospective population-based study in the national capital region

Chad Y. Mao, Sandeep Narang, Joseph Lopreiato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Breastfeeding practices in military families have not been widely investigated. The objective of this study was to measure the prevalence and duration of breastfeeding among uniformed families and identify factors associated with breastfeeding. We conducted a prospective study of 253 mothers of new infants from July to December 2004. Initial information gathered included demographic data, feeding choices, and intended duration of breastfeeding. Follow-up surveys were conducted until 12 months postpartum. 51% of mothers were breastfeeding at 6 months and 25% at 1 year. Mothers on active duty were equally likely to breastfeed than non-active duty mothers. Officer mothers were 3 times more likely to breastfeed compared to enlisted mothers (p 1/4 0.005). Mothers with higher education were twice as likely to breastfeed longer (p 1/4 0.015). Families participating in Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) were 2.5 times less likely to breastfed at 1 year (p < 0.001). Our study shows a higher percentage of women initiating and maintaining breastfeeding compared to national data, but still less than current American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. Our study suggests that to improve breastfeeding rates among uniformed families, more attention may need to be directed to younger, enlisted mothers and those families in a lower socioeconomic status or receiving WIC assistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-234
Number of pages6
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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