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Adherence to complementary feeding recommendations for infants and implications for public health

  • Suzanne Fegan (a1), Emma Bassett (a1), Yingwei Peng (a2) and Kathleen Steel O’Connor (a1) (a2)
Abstract
Objective

The current study investigates (i) the extent to which breast-feeding and non-breast-feeding mothers follow the Canadian Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants (NHTI) recommendations; (ii) the first complementary foods given and the differences by breast-feeding status; (iii) whether any breast-feeding is associated with earlier introduction to complementary foods relative to non-breast-feeding, after controlling for potentially confounding factors; and (iv) the need for improvements in timing and resources of interventions by examining breast-feeding rates over time and information sources used by mothers.

Design

Longitudinal data from the Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Infant Feeding Survey were used. Mothers completed a survey at the end of their hospital stay and were interviewed by telephone at 2, 4, 6 and 12 months thereafter.

Setting

The study took place in the KFL&A region of Ontario, Canada.

Subjects

The sample consisted of 325 mothers who gave birth to a live infant of at least 36 weeks’ gestation and a birth weight of at least 1500 g at Kingston General Hospital between January and July of 2008.

Results

Four in five mothers introduced complementary foods prior to 6 months. Mothers not breast-feeding at 6 months introduced water, juice, infant cereals, fruit and vegetables, and foods not recommended by Canada’s Food Guide sooner than breast-feeding mothers. Breast-feeding mothers were more likely to introduce milks appropriately, but had low adherence to giving their infants vitamin D supplements.

Conclusions

To support adherence to NHTI recommendations, interventions should be conducted during early infancy and deliver consistent, evidence-based recommendations.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
* Corresponding author: Email suzanne.fegan@kflapublichealth.ca
References
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Public Health Nutrition
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