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Preliminary data from demographic and health surveys on infant feeding in 20 developing countries
Authors: Marriott BM, Campbell L, Hirsch E, and Wilson D
Source: Journal of Nutrition, 137(2):518S-523S
Topic(s): Breastfeeding
Child health
Children under five
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: FEB 2007
Abstract: This study describes infant feeding practices in developing countries, specifically complementary liquids and foods in the first year of life. Data were compiled from Demographic and Health Surveys conducted from 1999 to 2003. We analyzed data from those countries with available data, including results for child-level 24-h and 7-d food and fluid intakes. We used datasets from 20 countries with information on >35,000 infants categorized by age: 0-6 and 6-12 mo. For analysis, we grouped data for fluids other than breast milk as water, other milk (e.g., tinned, powdered, animal), infant formula, and other liquids (e.g., fruit juice, herbal tea, sugar water). All specific solid foods were grouped as any solid foods. We present data on breast-feeding and maternal-reported fluid and solid intake by infants in a 24-h period, for individual countries, and in a pooled analysis. Pooled data show that 96.6% of 0- to 6- and 87.9% of 6- to 12-mo-old infants were currently breast-fed. Reported feeding of other fluids was lower among 0- to 6-mo-olds than 6- to 12-mo-olds: water (45.9 vs. 87.4%), other milk products (11.9 vs. 29.6%), infant formula (9.0 vs. 15.1%), and other liquids (15.1 vs. 41.0%). Pooled analysis showed that 21.9% of mothers reported feeding 0- to 6-mo-old infants some type of solid food, and 80.1% of mothers reported feeding solids to 6- to 12-mo-olds. These survey data show that other milks, other liquids, and solid foods are each much more commonly fed throughout infancy than commercial infant formulas in the countries studied.