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Introduction of complementary foods in Sweden and impact of maternal education on feeding practices

  • Sofia Klingberg (a1) (a2), Johnny Ludvigsson (a1) and Hilde K Brekke (a1) (a3)

Abstract

Objective

To describe the introduction of complementary foods in a population-based cohort in relation to recommendations and explore the possible impact of maternal education on infant feeding practices.

Design

Prospective data from the All Babies in Southeast Sweden (ABIS) cohort study were used. The ABIS study invited all infants born in south-east Sweden during October 1997–October 1999 (n 21 700) to participate. A questionnaire was completed for 16 022 infants. During the infants’ first year parents continuously filed in a diary covering introduction of foods.

Setting

Sweden.

Subjects

Infants (n 9727) with completed food diaries.

Results

Potatoes, vegetables, fruits/berries and porridge were the foods first introduced, with a median introduction between 19 and 22 weeks, followed by introduction of meat, cow’s milk, follow-on formula and sour milk/yoghurt between 24 and 27 weeks. Early introduction of any food, before 16 weeks, occurred for 27 % of the infants and was more common in infants of mothers with low education. Overall, potatoes (14·7 %), vegetables (11·1 %), fruits/berries (8·5 %), porridge (7·4 %) and follow-on formula (2·7 %) were the foods most frequently introduced early. The majority of infants (≥70 %) were introduced to potatoes, vegetables, fruits/berries and porridge during concurrent breast-feeding, but introduction during concurrent breast-feeding was less common in infants of mothers with low education.

Conclusions

Most infants were introduced to complementary foods timely in relation to recommendations. Low maternal education was associated with earlier introduction of complementary foods and less introduction during concurrent breast-feeding. Still, the results indicated exposure to fewer foods at 12 months in infants of mothers with low education.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Email sofia.klingberg@gu.se

Footnotes

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These authors acted as equivalent senior authors.

Footnotes

References

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