Poster Topical Area: Maternal, Perinatal and Pediatric Nutrition

Location: Hall D

Poster Board Number: 326

P13-068 - Comprehensive patterns of breastfeeding behaviors at 3 and 6 months postpartum in the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition study (APrON)

Sunday, Jun 10
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Objective: The Interagency Group for Action on Breastfeeding (IGAB) recommends use of a detailed framework to define breastfeeding (BF) behavior. Previous studies tend to characterize BF behaviors in simple ways, such as exclusive versus non-exclusive BF. A lack of detail in describing BF has contributed to challenges in comparing study findings. The objective of this study was to use the IGAB framework (Figure 1) to describe patterns of BF at 3 and 6 months postpartum in women in the APrON study.


Methods: Women (n = 561) completed prospective BF diaries to assess duration, frequency and method of all milk feeding over 3 days at 3 and 6 months postpartum. Feeding behaviors were grouped according to the IGAB framework. Mean daily number of feeds by method (fed at breast, expressed breastmilk, formula, or expressed breastmilk and formula in the same bottle), and mean total duration of at-breast feeds (minutes/day) were described by feeding group.


Results: The majority of women were in the exclusive BF group (79% and 72% at 3 and 6 months) with 10% and 11% in partial-high, 7% and 11% in partial-med and 3% and 5% in partial-low at 3 and 6 months, respectively. Most women (76%) remained in the same BF group at 6 months as they were at 3 months. Women in the exclusive BF group fed for 139 and 96 minutes/day at 3 and 6 months, respectively. Compared to the exclusive BF group, women in the partial-med group fed at breast for 24 and 27 minutes less per day and in the partial-low group for 135 and 93 minutes less per day, at 3 and 6 months respectively. In contrast, women in the partial-high group fed at breast 20 minutes more per day than those in the exclusive group at 3 months and for the same time at 6 months.


Conclusions: Preliminary results show that patterns of BF remained stable between 3 and 6 months postpartum. However, there was wide variation in duration of at-breast feeds among those in the partial BF groups. In previous studies, these women would typically be categorized as 'non-exclusive' breastfeeders. This level of aggregation may have contributed to inconsistent findings, especially studies of maternal postpartum weight retention, owing to lack of consideration of high variability of time spent feeding at breast. This classification will enable studies to assess maternal and infant outcomes with a more refined picture of BF behaviors.



Funding Source: Megan Jarman is funded by an Alberta Innovates postdoctoral fellowship. Analyses reported in this abstract were also funded by Alberta Innovates Health Solutions through a Collaborative Research Innovation Opportunities Program Grant awarded to the ENRICH study team
Figure1: Framework for describing breastfeeding patterns developed by Interagency Group on Action for Breastfeeding (figure adapted from Labbok etal 1990 Studies in Family Planning 21(4) 226-230)

CoAuthors: Paula Robson – Alberta Health Services; Ye Shen – University of Alberta; Mette Madsen – University of Alberta; Rhonda Bell – University of Alberta

Megan Jarman

Postdoc Research Fellow
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada