Aim: To present infant feeding patterns and to relate these to selected biological and social factors.
Methods: One hundred and ninety-two infants born at four delivery departments were followed prospectively from birth to 12 mo of age. Their parents were asked to tick weekly if the infant received items on a list of the most common infant foods and drinks, including breast milk.
Results: All infants started breastfeeding. Median duration of exclusive breastfeeding was 0.5 mo, and 3.75 mo for "any breastfeeding". Mothers who were older (>25 y), better educated (>11 y) and non-smokers breastfed significantly longer (median 4 mo). Median introduction of cow's milk was 8 (range 2-12) mo. At the age of 12 mo, 78% of infants received cow's milk and 58% of infants received cow's milk as the sole source of milk. Mothers who were younger (<21 y) and less educated (<12 y) introduced cow's milk significantly earlier. Mean (SD) start of solids was 3.4 (1.0) mo. Longer duration of breastfeeding was the only factor significantly associated with the later start of solids. Ninety-two percent of infants were introduced to fresh cheese before 12 mo. Additional liquids were widely given both to breastfed and non-breastfed infants.
Conclusions: Compliance with the current infant feeding recommendations is not sufficient. Breastfeeding rates are low. Use of high-protein products is widespread. More effort should be made to educate young, less educated and smoking mothers.