What is it about?

Despite the extensive and well documented benefits of breastfeeding (BF) for women and newborns, approximately 38% of infants worldwide are exclusively breastfed until around the age of four months - thus reflecting the high prevalence of early cessation of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF). As low or inadequate health literacy (HL) is linked to multiple poor health and clinical outcomes, our group sought to evaluate the relationship between the HL of mothers and their BF behaviors.

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Why is it important?

Between 2018 and 2019 we recruited 229 women who gave birth in Valencia (Spain) to investigate the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding at four months postpartum, and the impact of HL in maintaining optimal exclusive breastfeeding practices. Approximately 10% of the women had inadequate HL. On the other hand, 55.0% of the women showed exclusive BF at hospital discharge - a percentage that was seen to halve at four months postpartum. Limited or inadequate HL was one of the factors significantly associated with early cessation of EBF in the multivariate regression model.


Our manuscript would interest leading, implementing or delivering breastfeeding services, and who may benefit from ensuring that healthcare workers and organizations are health literate in order to tailor available local resources to support women who want to breastfeed, and promote person-centered health care.

Rafael Vila-Candel
Hospital de La Ribera

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Health literacy of pregnant women and duration of breastfeeding maintenance: A feasibility study, Journal of Advanced Nursing, November 2020, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/jan.14625.
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