The Australian Feeding Infants and Toddler Study (OzFITS 2021): Breastfeeding and Early Feeding Practices

Merryn J. Netting, Najma A. Moumin, Emma J. Knight, Rebecca K. Golley, Maria Makrides, Tim J. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Australian Feeding Infants and Toddler Study 2021 (OzFITS 2021) is a nationwide survey of Australian caregivers’ infant and toddler feeding practices. Here, we describe breastfeeding rates and duration, use of breastmilk substitutes, and introduction of complementary (solid) foods, including common food allergens. Caregivers (n = 1140) were recruited by a digital marketing company and were interviewed using a structured telephone questionnaire to obtain information. Breastfeeding was initiated in 98% of infants, but the duration of exclusive breastfeeding to six months was less than 1%. Nearly 40% of children continued to receive breastmilk beyond one year, with 10% of toddlers receiving breastmilk at two years. One-quarter of infants were introduced to solid foods between 4 to 5 months, and nearly all infants had received solid foods by 7 months. New guidelines encourage the early introduction of potential food allergens to reduce the risk of allergy, and by 12 months, over 90% of children had been given eggs and peanuts. One-third of children received no breastmilk substitutes during their first year. One-third of infants first received breastmilk substitutes following birth and before discharge from the hospital. Of these infants, 30% ceased breastmilk substitute use after discharge. Our findings suggest a high rate of continued breastfeeding with 44% receiving breastmilk beyond 1 year. One approach to increase the duration of exclusive breastfeeding is to reduce breastmilk substitute use while in hospital.

Original languageEnglish
Article number206
Number of pages8
JournalNutrients
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Allergen introduction
  • Australian feeding infants and toddler study
  • Breastfeeding
  • Feeding practices
  • Nutrient intakes
  • Solid feeding

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