Impact of COVID-19 on breastfeeding intention and behaviour among postpartum women in five countries

Li Yin Chien, Eun Young Lee, Kelly Pereira Coca, Seung Chun Paek, Seo Ah Hong*, Yan Shing Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Studies regarding the impact of COVID-19 on breastfeeding have mostly used single- country samples or a qualitative design. Aim: The objective of this study was to examine breastfeeding intention during pregnancy and breastfeeding behaviour among postpartum women in five countries during the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated factors. Methods: An online questionnaire survey was conducted in Thailand, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Taiwan, and Brazil from July through November 2021. The study participants included 3253 mothers within six months of birth. Findings: About 90% of participants intended to breastfeed during pregnancy and 85.7% reported breastfeeding in the past 24 h. More than half reported their breastfeeding duration being as planned or longer despite COVID-19. Multivariate logistic regression models showed that being multiparous, ever tested COVID-19 positive, and having positive breastfeeding beliefs were associated with increased odds for intention to breastfeed during pregnancy. Lower maternal educational level, being primiparous, ever tested COVID-19 positive, and experiencing food insecurity were associated with decreased odds for breastfeeding duration being as planned or longer. Vaginal birth, currently working or on maternity leave, breastfeeding beliefs, breastfeeding support from spouse/partner/friend/relative, online support groups, and in-person or telephone contact with healthcare professionals were associated with increased odds for breastfeeding duration being as planned or longer. Conclusion: Breastfeeding intention and behaviour remained high during the COVID-19 pandemic. Online support groups and telephone contact with health professionals were effective during the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWomen and Birth
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Breastfeeding
  • COVID-19
  • Infant feeding
  • Intention to breastfeed
  • Postpartum

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