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Personality may affect a new mother's decision to breastfeed
Date:8/5/2013

A new analysis has found that mothers who are more extroverted and less anxious are more likely to breastfeed and to continue to breastfeed than mothers who are introverted or anxious. Published early online in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, the study indicates that new mothers with certain personalities may need additional support and education to help them feel confident, self assured, and knowledgeable about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is important for the health of both mother and baby: breastfed babies have lower levels of infections and allergies and are less likely to be overweight, while mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop certain cancers.

Many factors can affect whether a mother breastfeeds, but mothers who have lots of support, feel confident, and know how to overcome problems are more likely to breastfeed for longer. Understanding what makes a mother feel confident and supported is important to increasing breastfeeding rates. Many studies have looked at the role of mothers' education, age, and relationships, but the link between breastfeeding and a mother's personality has not been explored.

To investigate, Amy Brown, PhD, of Swansea University in the United Kingdom, surveyed 602 mothers with infants aged six to 12 months old. The questionnaire examined the mothers' personalities, how long they breastfed, and their attitudes and experiences of breastfeeding. Data were collected between March and June 2009.

Mothers who indicated that they were extroverts and were emotionally stable were significantly more likely to initiate and continue breastfeeding for a longer duration. Mothers who were introverted or anxious were more likely to use formula milk or only breastfeed for a short while.

Dr. Brown believes that the findings can be explained by the link between mothers' personalities and their attitudes and experiences of breastfeeding. Mothers who were introverted felt more self-c
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Contact: Amy Molnar
sciencenewsroom@wiley.com
Wiley
Source:Eurekalert

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