Breastfeeding in rural China: Association between knowledge, attitudes, and practices

Ling Shi, Jingxu Zhang, Yan Wang, Bernard Guyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Breastfeeding rates have decreased in the past decade in China. This study identifies psychosocial and sociodemographic factors associated with breastfeeding practices. A total of 599 mothers of infants 2 to 4 months old were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Nearly all infants (95.5%) were breastfed, but only 4.2% were exclusively breastfed, and 48.7% were fully breastfed. Mothers' intention to breastfeed (odds ratio [OR] = 1.67, 95% CI: 1.39-2.01) and social support (OR = 1.22, 95% CI: 1.002-1.50) were associated with full breastfeeding. Full breastfeeding prevalence decreased with children's age (OR = 0.79, 95% CI: 0.63, 0.98). Girls were more likely to be fully breastfed than boys (OR = 1.46, 95% CI: 1.06, 2.02). This study found that optimal breastfeeding practices during the first 4 months of life are not universal in rural China. Health care providers should be more actively involved in educating and motivating mothers and their family members to adopt optimal breastfeeding practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-385
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008


  • Breastfeeding
  • Practice
  • Prevalence
  • Rural China
  • Sociodemographics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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