Evidence from peninsular Malaysia of breastfeeding as a contraceptive method
Studies in Family Planning 23(6): 376-385
Publication date: 1992
This report examines Malaysian women's perceptions of the contraceptive effect of breastfeeding, the determinants of their perceptions, and any effect these perceptions might have on nursing duration and contraceptive use. The report also considers whether women are consciously replacing breastfeeding with modern contraceptive methods. Data from the 1976 Malaysian Family Life Survey are analyzed, and the author concludes that Malaysian women do perceive that breastfeeding has a contraceptive effect, but that this perception is not universal. Ethnicity and desire for a particular family size are the most significant determinants of this perception. Finally, Malaysian women's recognition of the contraceptive effect of nursing does not influence either the duration of their breastfeeding or their adoption of contraception. Malaysian women may not be abandoning breastfeeding to adopt contraception. More probably, breastfeeding declines and contraceptive prevalence increases with modernization.