Household income, educational attainment significantly affect infant feeding practices

Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) showed that infant feeding practices have significant relationship with household income and educational attainment.

In this study, the trends and relationships of current infant feeding practices as well as complementary feeding with the income of poor and non-poor households, and edu-cational attainment of the households, and educational attainment of the household heads were analyzed. The data used were from the Sixth National Nutrition Survey (NNS) and the 2003 Family Income and Expenditure Survey of the National Statistics Office (NSO).

Results of the study showed that on the average, breastfed infants from higher income households were given water, complementary foods and commercial milk at an earlier age of about two months. On the other hand, infants from lower income groups were given complementary foods when they are already four to six months of age.

The study revealed that infants being breastfed decreased as the education level of the breadwinner for the family became higher. This means that when the bread-winner has a higher educational level, their child will not be breastfed or will only be breastfed for a short duration.

The study also showed that majority of the infants belong-ing to poor households are being breastfed compared to their non-poor infant counter-parts.

Infants from poor house-holds are weaned at an average of 8.5 months, while non-poor infants are weaned at 4.93 months.

The study revealed that more income and higher educational attainment is not an assurance of having good infant feeding practices by the family.

The FNRI-DOST study showed that it is equally as important to educate not only the baby’s mother but also the household head about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, the introduction of complementary feeding at 6 months of age, and to instill the importance of continued breastfeeding until about two years of age.#