A detailed exploration of early infant milk feeding in a prospective birth cohort study in Ireland: combination feeding of breast milk and infant formula and early breast-feeding cessation
Dempsey, Eugene M.
Murray, Deirdre M.
Kiely, Mairead E.
Cambridge University Press
Breast-feeding initiation and continuation rates in the UK and Ireland are low relative to many European countries. As a core outcome of the prospective Cork Nutrition and Development Maternal-Infant Cohort (COMBINE) study (Cork, Ireland), we aimed to describe infant milk feeding practices in detail and examine the prevalence and impact of combination feeding of breast milk and infant formula on breast-feeding duration. COMBINE recruited 456 nulliparous mothers (2015â 2017) for maternalâ infant follow-up via interview at hospital discharge (median 3 (interquartile range (IQR) 2, 4) d (n 453)), 1 (n 418), 2 (n 392), 4 (n 366), 6 (n 362) and 9 (n 345) months of age. Median maternal age was 32 (IQR 29, 34) years, 97 % of mothers were of white ethnicity, 79 % were Irish-born and 75 % were college-educated. Overall, 75 % breastfed to any extent at discharge and 44 % breastfed solely. At 1, 2, 4, 6 and 9 months, respectively, 40, 36, 33, 24 and 19 % breastfed solely. Combination feeding of breast milk and infant formula was common at discharge (31 %) and 1 month (20 %). Reasons for combination feeding at 1 month included perceived/actual hunger (30 %), healthcare professional advice (31 %) and breast-feeding difficulties (13 %). Of mothers who breastfed to any extent at discharge, 45 % stopped within 4 months. Mothers who combination fed were more likely to cease breast-feeding than those who breastfed solely (relative risk 2Â·3 by 1 month and 12Â·0 by 2 months). These granular data provide valuable insight to early milk feeding practices and indicate that supporting early breast-feeding without formula use may be key to the successful continuation of breast-feeding.
Infant feeding , Breast-feeding , Combination feeding , Prospective birth cohorts , Babies After SCOPE: Evaluating the Longitudinal Impact using Neurological and Nutritional Endpoints , Cork Nutrition and Development Maternal-Infant Cohort , Interquartile range
Hemmingway, A., Fisher, D., Berkery, T., Dempsey, E., Murray, D. M. and Kiely, M. E. (2020) 'A detailed exploration of early infant milk feeding in a prospective birth cohort study in Ireland: combination feeding of breast milk and infant formula and early breast-feeding cessation', British Journal of Nutrition, 124(4), pp. 440-449. doi: 10.1017/S0007114520001324
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