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Scand J Public Health. 2015 Mar;43(2):138-45. doi: 10.1177/1403494814567171. Epub 2015 Jan 28.

Breastfeeding and introduction of complementary food in Danish infants.

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Department of Public Health, Section for Nursing, Aarhus University, Denmark
Department of Public Health, Section for Nursing, Aarhus University, Denmark Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
Department of Public Health, Section for Biostatistics, Aarhus University, Denmark.



The purpose of the present study was to describe early feeding patterns in Danish infants.


A self-administered questionnaire was sent to 7113 mothers of newborns in the western part of Denmark approximately 6 months postpartum. A total of 5127 mothers (72%) returned the questionnaire and 4526 (88%) of the responding mothers provided valid answers to questions on infant nutrition.


Breastfeeding was initiated after birth by 97%. At the ages of 2, 4 and 6 months, 68%, 55% and 7% of the infants, respectively, were fully breastfed, i.e. they received mother's milk only. Full breastfeeding at 4 months was for infants significantly associated with higher birth weight, longer gestational age and singleton birth; for mothers it was associated with older ages, higher educational level, lower BMI and multiparity. During the first weeks, 14% of the infants were introduced to formula and this proportion increased to 32%, 43% and 74% at 2, 4 and 6 months, respectively. Only 20% of the infants never received formula during the first 6 months of life. Time for introduction of solid food was associated with breastfeeding status. At 4 months, 3% of the previously fully breastfed infants were introduced to solid food, 12% of the partially breastfed and 17% of the non-breastfed. At 6 months, 87% of the infants had been introduced to solid food.


The majority of Danish mothers introduced infants to solid food between 4 and six months, and did not exclusively breastfeed until 6 months, as recommended by WHO.


Infant feeding patterns; breastfeeding; breastfeeding duration; complementary food; descriptive analysis; formula; solid food; time for introduction

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