Breastfeeding Protects Against Child Abuse and Neglect?

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Breastfeeding Protects Against Child Abuse and Neglect?
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 12:15pm

Does Breastfeeding Protect Against Substantiated Child Abuse and Neglect?


OBJECTIVES. We explored whether breastfeeding was protective against maternally perpetrated child maltreatment.

RESULTS. Of 512 children with substantiated maltreatment reports, >60% experienced ≥1 episode of maternally perpetrated abuse or neglect (4.3% of the cohort). The odds ratio for maternal maltreatment increased as breastfeeding duration decreased, with the odds of maternal maltreatment for nonbreastfed children being 4.8 times the odds for children breastfed for ≥4 months. After adjustment for confounding, the odds for nonbreastfed infants remained 2.6 times higher, with no association seen between breastfeeding and nonmaternal maltreatment. Maternal neglect was the only maltreatment subtype associated independently with breastfeeding duration.

CONCLUSION. Among other factors, breastfeeding may help to protect against maternally perpetrated child maltreatment, particularly child neglect.

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