Validation Study of Maternal Recall on Breastfeeding Duration 6 Years After Childbirth

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Breastfeeding duration is an important indicator commonly measured in maternal and child health and nutrition research. Maternal short-term recall for both initiation and duration of breastfeeding has been shown to be valid; however, validity of long-term recall is not well understood.

Research aim:

This study aims to assess the validity of maternal recall of breastfeeding duration 6 years after childbirth and its association with sociodemographic factors.


Among 635 mother–child pairs, breastfeeding duration data collected monthly throughout the 1st year after childbirth in the Infant Feeding Practices Study II (IFPS II) were compared to recall data obtained 6 years later during the Year 6 Follow-Up. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and Bland–Altman plots were examined to study the agreement between the two data sets. Sociodemographic factors associated with accurate recall to within 1 month of the IFPS II breastfeeding duration were assessed using multivariable logistic regression modeling.


Maternal recall of breastfeeding duration was found to be valid 6 years after childbirth with a small median overall bias (1 week) toward overestimation. The overall concordance was high (ICC = 0.84), except for high school graduates (ICC = 0.63) and smokers (ICC = 0.61). Smokers (adjusted odds ratio = 0.52; 95% confidence interval [0.4, 0.8]) and multiparous women (adjusted odds ratio = 0.57; 95% confidence interval [0.4, 0.9]) were also less likely to give an accurate recall of their breastfeeding duration to within 1 month.


Our study found that maternal recall of breastfeeding duration varies by sociodemographic factors but is accurate 6 years after childbirth.

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