Infant Feeding Practices and Associated Factors Through the First 9 Months of Life in Bavaria, Germany

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To investigate infant feeding and breast-feeding practices during the first 9 months of life in Bavaria, Germany, in relation to recommendations and to identify factors associated with early feeding of semisolid food.

Materials and Methods:

Data from 3103 infants throughout Bavaria, Germany, were collected in a prospective cohort study. Questionnaires were administered at the age of 6 days, and 2, 4, 6, and 9 months.


There was a considerable variety concerning the time when complementary feeding was introduced. Only 16.4% of the infants ate solid/semisolid food before the age of 5 months. Most of the infants received as their first solid food a mash of vegetable, meat, and potato. Compared to national guidelines fluids were introduced early. More than 37% of the breast-fed infants received additional fluids/formula. The strongest risk factor associated with complementary feeding before the fifth month was breast-feeding duration of less than 4 months (any breast-feeding) with an odds ratio of 8.57 (95% confidence interval 6.16–11.94). Other factors were low level of education, young age of the mother, smoking habit of the mother, and mother not being born in Germany.


Further improvements in nutrition of infants may be achieved in 2 ways: promotion of breast-feeding according to current recommendations and better counselling on the correct timing of introduction of semisolid food—especially for parents of not- or short-time breast-fed babies and focused on young mothers with low levels of education.

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