• Breastfeeding;
  • Cow's milk;
  • Maternal education;
  • Recommendations



Revised infant dietary recommendations from the Icelandic Nutrition Council (Nutrition: the first twelve months. Reykjavík, Iceland: The Icelandic Nutrition Council, 2003) are outlined in a booklet provided during free postnatal care. These focus on increasing the duration of exclusive and total breastfeeding and reducing cow's milk consumption. This study explored whether maternal education and other parental factors affected whether mothers followed the recommendations.


Mothers of randomly selected healthy infants (n = 200) completed questionnaires on body mass index (BMI), age, education (basic, medium and higher), household income, smoking and parental factors. Dietary data were collected during home visits by a researcher (0–4 months) and through monthly food records completed by parents or caregivers (5–12 months).


Each maternal education level increased breastfeeding duration by 0.72 months (95% CI = 0.04, 1.39) and reduced cow's milk consumption by 36.7 mL/day (95% CI = −70.11, −3.03), when adjusted for maternal BMI, age, smoking and family income. Maternal education was not associated with duration of exclusive breastfeeding. Duration of exclusive and total breastfeeding was inversely associated with maternal BMI, B = −0.10 (95% CI = −0.16, −0.05) and −0.13 (95% CI = −0.23, −0.03), respectively.


Mothers with higher education appear to have adapted more easily to the revised recommendations on infant diet, particularly when their infants are 6–12 months old. Higher maternal BMI was associated with shorter duration of both exclusive and total breastfeeding.