Infant Feeding Practices In a Diverse Group of Women: The Healthy Start Study

Clin Med Insights Pediatr. 2019 Jan 20;13:1179556518824362. doi: 10.1177/1179556518824362. eCollection 2019.


Background: To describe infant feeding practices among a diverse group of mother-offspring pairs and identify factors associated with adherence to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations.

Methods: Data were analyzed from 835 mother-offspring dyads in The Healthy Start Study, an ongoing longitudinal prebirth cohort in Denver, Colorado. Maternal report of infant feeding practices was obtained at 4 to 6 months and 18 to 24 months postnatally. Practices were classified according to the following AAP recommendations: exclusive breastfeeding for first 6 months, continued breastfeeding through 12 months, and introduction of solid foods around 6 months of age. Participants who met all 3 recommendations were categorized as "adherent." All others were categorized as "not adherent."

Results: About 77% of dyads did not adhere fully to the AAP recommendations. Women who worked ⩾35 hours/week or had a higher prepregnancy body mass index were more likely to be nonadherent. Women who were older, college educated, or had offspring with greater weight for gestational age at birth were less likely to be nonadherent.

Conclusions: Most of the women in a large contemporary cohort are not adhering to AAP infant feeding recommendations. Our results highlight the specific subgroups of women who may need additional support to optimize infant feeding practices.

Keywords: breastfeeding; epidemiology; infant feeding; infant formula; nutrition.