Dr. Amy Brown, who studies early nutrition at Swansea University in Wales, surveyed 602 mothers of infants ages 6 to 12 months, to see if personality traits were linked to breast-feeding rates. The women in the study ranged in age from 16 to 45 years old, and spanned a spectrum of income, education and professional achievement levels.
Brown found extroverted, conscientious and emotionally stable mothers were more likely to try breast-feeding. But being agreeable or open to new experiences made no difference, according to the findings published Tuesday (Aug. 6) in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.
More than 80 percent of the women in the study tried to breast-feed, but less than half who tried were still breast-feeding six months later. And women who switched from breast to bottle tended to switch quickly. About 73 percent of the women who stopped breast-feeding did so within two weeks after giving birth.
Women who were conscientious — for example, detailed-oriented and punctual — were likely to start, but also likely to stop breast-feeding.
Mothers who kept breast-feeding during the first six months were more extroverted and less anxious than mothers who always bottle-fed or switched to the bottle. The effect was particularly strong within the first six weeks after birth.
Image: Mother bottle-feeding her baby, via Shutterstock