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Abstract

Objectives Recent breastfeeding studies from immigration countries have found that acculturation factors influence breastfeeding behaviour in women with a migration background. To date, there has been no systematic investigation for Germany. Therefore, we study whether and how the degree of acculturation within a population of migrant women influences the start, time and duration of breastfeeding. Patient Population and Methodology Pregnant women who were admitted to one of the three participating maternity clinics in Berlin for the birth of their child in the one-year study period were surveyed (including sociodemographic details, data on migration/acculturation). These women were interviewed again two or three days post partum (including start of breastfeeding, planned breastfeeding duration, reasons for not breastfeeding). In a subgroup, a telephone interview took place 6 months post partum about the actual breastfeeding duration, contraceptive behaviour post partum and availing of midwife services following delivery. Breastfeeding behaviour was analysed using multivariate regression models, among other things. Results The prepartum survey included 7100 women, 6884 women were contacted in the postnatal wards, and the subgroup six months after delivery comprised 605 women. No acculturation-related differences were found in the start of breastfeeding. In the adjusted model, a medium and higher degree of acculturation diminished the chance of planning a long breastfeeding period. More acculturated women show a greater risk of weaning within the first six months than less acculturated women. Conclusion The degree of acculturation has relevant significance for some aspects of breastfeeding behaviour in women with a migration background. This should be considered both in breastfeeding promotion programmes and in further national breastfeeding studies.

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