Exclusive and any breast-feeding rates of Pacific infants in Auckland: data from the Pacific Islands Families First Two Years of Life study
Public Health Nutrition
Objectives: To present current breast-feeding rates for Pacific infants resident in New Zealand. Reasons for the introduction of complementary liquid foods were also explored. Design: A longitudinal study using hospital discharge summary records and maternal home interviews undertaken at 6 weeks, 12 and 24 months postpartum. Turnbull's non-parametric survival analysis was used to model exclusive breast-feeding rates. Setting: Auckland, New Zealand. Results: The cohort comprised 1376 infants at
... ed 1376 infants at 6 weeks, 1223 infants at 12 months and 1142 infants at 24 months. Exclusive breast-feeding rates at hospital discharge, 6 weeks, 3 and 6 months postpartum were 84% (95% confidence interval (CI): 80-88%), 49% (95% CI: 43-55%), 37% (95% CI: 32-42%) and 9% (95% CI: 7-11%), respectively. Significant ethnic difference existed, with Samoan mothers having higher exclusive breast-feeding rates than Tongan mothers (P ¼ 0.002). The percentage of infants receiving any breast milk at hospital discharge, 6 weeks, 12 and 24 months was 96% (95% CI: 94 -97%), 95% (95% CI: 94 -96%), 31% (95% CI: 28 -34%) and 15% (95% CI: 13 -17%), respectively. Again ethnic differences emerged. Common reasons cited for discontinuation of exclusive breast-feeding included uncertainty of breast milk supply (56%), problems with breasts (30%) and difficulties breast-feeding in work or educational environments (26%). However, 691 (50%) mothers sought no advice about their breast-feeding concerns within the first six weeks of life. Conclusions: Exclusive breast-feeding rates for Pacific infants are ethnically heterogeneous, have declined since the 1990s and fall short of the World Health Organization recommendations. The principal reasons cited for exclusive breastfeeding discontinuation echo those reported over a decade ago.