The Choice of Milk Substitute or Supplementary food for Malaysian Infants

A Conditional Logistic Analysis

by John Haaga

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This Note analyzes trends and determinants of infant feeding choices in Peninsular Malaysia during the period 1950-1977, using retrospective data from the Malaysian Family Life Survey (MFLS). It includes descriptive statistics summarizing the overall trends and emphasizing the differences among Malaysia's ethnic groups in feeding choices. Then it specifies and estimates conditional logistic regression models from the MFLS data to examine, in a multivariate framework, the factors affecting the choice of milk for two subsamples: infants weaned entirely by the age of three months, and infants on a mixed feeding regimen. The main findings include the following: (1) of the factors investigated, ethnicity continues to affect feeding choices for both groups, even when other family characteristics, such as levels of education, urban residence, and income, are controlled; (2) rural women are more likely to use sweetened condensed milk as a breastmilk substitute in early infancy; (3) family income matters little in the choice of milk substitute or supplementary food for either the early weaners or mixed feeders; (4) infants on mixed feeding are given a wider variety of first food or liquid; and (5) the probability of use of powdered infant milk is greater for infants born in hospitals.

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