The aim of this research was to identify factors associated with mothers breast feeding and to identify, for those who breast fed, factors associated with breast feeding for as long as planned.Background: breast feeding rates in Ireland are amongst the lowest in Europe. Research evidence indicates that in order for mothers to be successful at breast feeding, multiplicities of supports are necessary for both initiation and duration. The nature of these supports in tandem with other influencing factors requires analysis from an Irish perspective.Design: cross-sectional study involving public health nurses and mothers in Ireland. This paper presents the results of the mothers' evaluation.Method: mothers (n=1715) with children less than three years were offered a choice of completing the self report questionnaires online or by mail. Data were analysed and reported using descriptive and inferential statistics.Findings: four in every five participants breast fed their infant and two thirds of them breast fed as long as planned. The multivariate logistic regression analysis identified that third level education, being a first time mother or previously having breast fed, participating online, having more than two public health nurse visits, and having a positive infant feeding attitude were independently and statistically significantly associated with breast feeding. Among mothers who breast fed, being aged at least 35 years, participating online, having a positive infant feeding attitude and high breast feeding self-efficacy were independently and statistically significantly associated with breast feeding for as long as planned.Conclusions: findings from this study reinforce health inequalities therefore there needs to be a renewed commitment to reducing health inequalities in relation to breast feeding.Relevance to clinical practice: this study has identified factors associated with initiation and duration of breast feeding that are potentially modifiable through public health interventions. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.