Prevalence and determinants of exclusive breastfeeding during hospital stay in the area of Athens, Greece

Fani Pechlivani, Tonia Vassilakou, Jasmin Sarafidou, Themis Zachou, Costas A. Anastasiou, Labros S. Sidossis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Aim: To assess breastfeeding practices, focusing on the prevalence and the determinants of exclusive breastfeeding during hospital stay. Methods: A cross-sectional study of 1603 healthy women, who delivered healthy infants weighing more than 2500 g, was conducted in the area of Athens, Greece. Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire on the day they were discharged from the maternity ward. Classification of breastfeeding and recall period from birth to discharge were in accordance with the WHO criteria. Hierarchical logistic regression analysis was used to study determinants of exclusive breastfeeding initiation. Results: Breastfeeding initiation was reported by 96.1% of the participants. However, exclusive breastfeeding was initiated only in 19.1% and predominant breastfeeding in 7.2% of the cases. The univariate analysis showed that maternal younger age, low educational level, unemployment, vaginal delivery, infant birthweight > 3000 g, multiparity, early initiation of breastfeeding, rooming-in and awareness on the existence of breastfeeding centres were associated with higher rates of exclusive breastfeeding. Logistic regression analysis revealed that rooming-in (OR 3.72, p < 0.01), demand feeding (OR 2.18, p < 0.01), type of delivery (OR 1.61, p < 0.01) and the source of information received about breastfeeding are more important determinants of exclusive breastfeeding than the socio-demographic parameters. Conclusions: Exclusive breastfeeding during hospital stay in the area of Athens is low. Demand feeding and rooming-in positively influence exclusive breastfeeding initiation, while caesarean section and information by mass media have a negative impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)928-934
Number of pages7
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Breastfeeding initiation
  • Breastfeeding rates
  • Exclusive breastfeeding
  • Hospital practices
  • Socio-demographic factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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