Skip to main content

Low Birth Weight Reduces the Likelihood of Breast-Feeding Among Filipino Infants


Adair, Linda S. & Popkin, Barry M. (1996). Low Birth Weight Reduces the Likelihood of Breast-Feeding Among Filipino Infants. Journal of Nutrition, 126(1), 103-112.


We studied the relationship of low birth weight (LBW) to concordance of mother's feeding intentions during pregnancy with actual feeding practices; initiation of breast-feeding; and patterns of feeding in the first 6 mo. Data came from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey, which followed 3080 mother-infant pairs from urban and rural communities of Metro Cebu, Philippines. We used logistic regression to estimate the effects of LBW on feeding practices, controlling for place of delivery (home, public or private health facility), receipt of free infant formula samples; infant sex, urban residence; primiparity, education level and age of the mother; and family income and assets. Birth of a LBW infant significantly decreased the likelihood that women would initiate breast-feeding. Of particular note is the finding of this decreased likelihood among women who during pregnancy had stated an intention to breast-feed. In a comparison of 6-mo feeding patterns, we also found that LBW increased the likelihood of not breast-feeding or of weaning before 6 mo. Among breast-feeding mothers, LBW increased the likelihood of full breast-feeding for 6 mo compared with patterns characterized by earlier supplementation with other foods and liquids. The negative relationship of LBW to breast-feeding was strongest when births took place in private or public health facilities. Given the known health risks of LBW and the proven benefits of breast-feeding, these results emphasize the need for special efforts to promote breast-feeding of LBW infants born in clinical settings.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Nutrition


Adair, Linda S.
Popkin, Barry M.