Sociodemographic, physical, mental and social factors in the cessation of breastfeeding before 6 months: a systematic review

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The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding as the main source of nutrition for infants during their first 6 months of life. However, despite this well-known recommendation, not all mothers breastfeed, whether partly or fully, during this time.


The aim of this systematic literature review was to compile evidence regarding sociodemographic, physical, mental and social factors that influence breastfeeding mothers to stop breastfeeding before the infant reaches 6 months.

Search method:

A systematic search was conducted in four databases.

Selection criteria:

Studies with quantitative research were included.

Data collection and analysis:

Totally, 186 abstracts were read, 83 seemed relevant but 18 were found to be duplicates. Finally, 27 articles met the inclusion criteria and were included. The quality assessment was carried out with a quality assessment template from the Swedish Council on Technology and Assessment, and the grading of the result was carried out according to GRADE.


The association of breastfeeding cessation between the mother's young age, low level of education, return to work within 12-week postpartum, caesarean birth and inadequate milk supply was found to have a low level of evidence. The link found between depressions among the mothers with the cessation of breastfeeding was found to have a very low level of evidence.


Sociodemographic factors appeared to have caused cessation of breastfeeding in some of the included articles. The preventive work should focus on how to improve the knowledge of healthcare professionals and targeted interventions must address mothers who are at risk of ceasing breastfeeding before the recommended time.

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