Author(s): Bautista LE
The determinants of initiating breast-feeding vary among different populations, but knowledge of them is of fundamental importance for guiding programs to promote breast-feeding. Data from the Demographic and Health Survey of 1991 in the Dominican Republic were used to identify factors associated with the initiation of breast-feeding in a random sample of women of reproductive age. Approximately 93% of 2,714 mothers reported having begun to breast-feed their last live-born child who was currently under 5 years of age, and that percentage had not changed substantially in the past 5 years. A logistic regression analysis was done in which odd ratios (psi) were calculated as measures of association. Women who had suffered some type of illness during pregnancy (psi = 2.3), those whose child had a low birthweight (psi = 2.9), primiparas (psi = 1.9), and those with medium (psi = 1.6) or high (psi = 2.1) income levels showed a significantly higher risk of not starting to breast-feed. These women should be considered priority groups by breast-feeding promotion programs.