Concerned by the alarming decline in breast feeding in the urban and rural areas of Malaysia, we conducted a critical review of infant feeding practices among nursing personnel from representative centres using questionnaires. It was found that although 75% of mothers breast-fed their babies at birth only 19% did so at 2 months and 5% at 6 months respectively. Chinese mothers initiated breast feeding less frequently compared with Indian or Malay mothers. The prevalence of breast feeding was higher among lower category nurses, lower income groups and those from health centres. Decision for breast feeding was based in most instances on conviction derived from reading, lectures or advice from relatives. The vast majority of mothers listed "work' as the main reason for termination of breast feeding followed by "insufficient breast milk' and satisfactory past experience with bottle feeding. The ramifications of these findings and measures to improve the prevalence and duration of breast feeding are discussed.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.