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Sociodemographic predictors of exclusive breast-feeding among low-income women attending a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programme

  • Janine A Rethy (a1) (a2), Sina Gallo (a3), Amara Channell Doig (a3), Jennifer Brady (a1) and David Goodfriend (a1)...



To describe infant feeding practices and predictors of exclusive breast-feeding among women attending a local Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programme.


Cross-sectional survey. Outcomes included reported infant feeding practices at 3 and 6 months, timing and reasons for introduction of formula. Descriptive statistics, χ2 tests and logistic regression were used describe the sample and explore relationships between variables.


Loudoun County, VA, USA.


A sample of 190 predominantly Hispanic women attending local WIC clinics.


Overall, 84 % of women reported ever breast-feeding and 61 % of infants received formula in the first few days of life. Mothers who reported on infant feeding practices were less likely to exclusively breast-feed (34 v. 45 %) and more likely to provide mixed feeding (50 v. 20 %) at 3 months compared with 6 months, respectively. Significant (P<0·05) predictors of exclusive breast-feeding at 3 months included setting an exclusive breast-feeding goal and completing some high school (compared with completing high school or more). Only education remained a significant predictor of exclusive breast-feeding at 6 months.


A high proportion of women reported giving formula in the first few days of life and many changed from mixed to exclusive breast-feeding or formula by 6 months, suggesting possibly modifiable factors. Further investigation can help drive direct service- as well as policy and systems-based interventions to improve exclusive breast-feeding.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email


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