Infant and child feeding practices: a preliminary investigation

The objective of this preliminary investigation was to examine the feeding practices of infants and pre-school children in Adelaide, and thereby contribute to the development of appropriate preventive dental strategies. A stratified random sample of 160 two year old and three year old pre-school children in the Adelaide Statistical District was obtained. Information about feeding practices and use of comforters or ‘dummies’ was obtained through a self-administered questionnaire completed by parents of the selected children. Information was collected for the age periods of 0-3 months, 4-6 months, 7-12 months, 13-24 months and 25-36 months. Most of the children (81.8 per cent) were breast-fed at some stage. However the percentage of children being breast-fed decreased markedly across age periods, particularly to 13-24 months, when only 15.9 per cent of children were being breast-fed. Over half of the children, had been bottle-fed with infant formula at some stage. The highest percentage of children being bottle-fed with infant formula occurred in the 4-6 months (42.6 per cent) closely followed by the 7-12 months age period (37.4 per cent). Nearly two-thirds of children were bottle-fed with cow’s milk at some stage. The highest percentage of children being bottle-fed with cow’s milk occurred in the 13-24 months age period (49.6 per cent). A quarter (24.5 per cent) of the children were put to bed at some stage with a bottle containing cariogenic fluids. The majority of children used a ‘dummy’ at some stage during both day-time and night-time. Parents are in need of advice on appropriate feeding patterns for infants and young children.

Wyne AH, Spencer AJ, Szuster FS

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Australian Dental Journal. 1997 Oct; 42(5): 291-6
Published by theĀ Australian Dental Association

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