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Soc Sci Med. 1989;28(3):271-4.

Breastfeeding trends in Singapore.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, National University Hospital, Kent Ridge, Singapore.


About 60% of well-to-do mothers in Singapore initiate breastfeeding. This value compares favourably with the 36% recently recorded for poor mothers, but is still unacceptably low compared to the 85-95% of well-to-do mothers and 90% of poor mothers who breastfed in the 1950s and 1960s. There has been a general decline in the incidence of breastfeeding over the last 35 years. Differences between the well-to-do and poor groups were initially small. A pronounced decline in the incidence of breastfeeding among the well-to-do mothers followed; a reversal in this downward trend in well-to-do mothers over the past 10 years has narrowed, and indeed reversed, the difference between the two groups. Similar trends can be found for the duration of breastfeeding. Whilst the overall decline probably reflects increasing affluence and 'Westernization' of the population the variation between these two economic groups is probably a result of differences in education. Among the three major ethnic communities, Chinese favoured breastfeeding least and Malays favoured it most. The differences are believed to be related to cultural differences and the ability of traditional practices and beliefs among the ethnic groups to resist the modern trend towards bottlefeeding.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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