Demographic factors influencing the initiation of breast-feeding in an Israeli urban population

E. Birenbaum, C. Fuchs, B. Reichman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The influence of demographic and prenatal factors on the initiation of breast-feeding in an urban Israeli population was evaluated by interviewing 1,000 parturients prior to discharge from the hospital. The mothers were all Jewish, none were single, and none were social welfare dependents. Of these mothers, 72% were breast-feeding. 6% stated an intent to breast-feed, and 22% were formula feeding their infants. A significantly increased rate of breast-feeding was found among mothers with the following characteristics: those of orthodox religious belief, high educational level, in the academic and paraacademic professions, nonsmokers, those who worked outside of the home during the pregnancy, those who had previous breast-feeding success, and mothers whose husbands' attitude toward breast-feeding was positive. The decision to breast-feed was made prior to delivery in 85% of mothers. Participation of the mother and/or father in antenatal preparation courses did not significantly influence the initiation of breast-feeding. Multivariant analysis with a stepwise logistic regression model delineated the four factors most significantly associated with the initiation of breast-feeding: positive spousal attitude toward breast-feeding, orthodox religious belief, nonsmoking, and work outside of the home during the pregnancy. The expected probability for initiating breast-feeding was computed for the various combinations of these four categories and ranged from .94 with all factors present to .33 in the absence of these characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-523
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


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