A cross-sectional survey published in BMJ Open found poor infant feeding practices in a rural county, Zhao County, in Hebei Province, China.
Early initiation of breastfeeding was only 22.4%, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months was less than 10% and continued breastfeeding up to the age of two was just 38.2%. Only 32.5% of children were given iron-rich or iron-fortified foods. The leading sources of infant feeding information were family members, neighbours, friends and popular media. Only around 20% of the information came from health facilities and nearly none came from communities. Household property data showed that 99.9% of households owned televisions and 99.4% owned mobile phones. In addition, 61.2% of the households owned computers, with 54.8% having access to the internet.
The authors concluded that few caregivers of children in Zhao County received feeding information during pregnancy and after delivery. Moreover, their feeding knowledge and practices were poor. Multi-channel approaches, delivered through health facilities, community resources, popular media, the internet and mobile phones, hold potential to improve infant feeding practices and should be explored in future studies.