Why do mothers stop breastfeeding before 6 months? A literature review

Ashleigh Wray, Joanne Garside

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Breastfeeding has many psychological, physical and emotional
benefits for both the mother and infant that increase and
strengthen with its prolonged duration. This review was
conducted with the aim of understanding the prevalent factors
in breastfeeding discontinuation before 6 months. Seven studies
met the search criteria following analysis and four themes
emerged: lack of support; physical or emotional health of
the mother; maternal choice; and insufficient milk supply. It
became apparent that each of these themes was underpinned
by a lack of support. The views of mothers crossed a range of
sociodemographic differences and, although their views were
based on their individual experiences, the value of support from
health professionals, family and peers appears to be crucial
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-246
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Health Visiting
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2018


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