Infant formula feeding at birth is common and inversely associated with subsequent breastfeeding behavior in Viet Nam

October 16, 2018

Alive & Thrive (A&T) examined the association of infant formula feeding during the first 3 days after birth with subsequent infant formula feeding and early breastfeeding cessation in Viet Nam to better understand how this impacts breastfeeding outcomes. Infant formula feeding during the first 3 days after birth was associated with a higher prevalence of subsequent infant formula feeding and early breastfeeding cessation. The study also found that breastfeeding misconceptions were key factors associated with infant formula feeding during the first 3 days after birth and subsequent infant formula feeding. The decision to introduce infant formula early is typically made before labor and is influenced by factors at several levels, including the health care system, the family, and the mother. Prenatal education and support by a health professional are known to be the most effective interventions in promoting the early initiation of breastfeeding and prolonging breastfeeding duration. These findings underscore the need to make early, exclusive breastfeeding normative and to create environments that support it. In addition to changing social norms, interventions should address competing messages from formula companies that are regularly promoted through advertisements, editorial content, community and school events, and sponsorship to health workers and facilities.