Inappropriate timing of introducing complementary food deprives the infant of optimum nutrition, leading to undernutrition, and increased mortality and morbidity. The aim of this analysis was to identify determinants of inappropriate timing of introduction of solid, semi-solid and soft foods in Pakistan.
Data on 941 infants 3.00 to 8.99 months were obtained from the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2006–2007. The prevalence of introduction of foods among infants aged 3.00–5.99 months and 6.00–8.99 months was examined against a set of individual, household and community level variables using univariate analysis. Adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for early introduction in age 3.00–5.99 months and non-introduction in 6.00–8.99 months of age were calculated using backward stepwise logistic regression models. The prevalence of early introduction of complementary foods among 3.00- to 5.99-month-old and timely introduction among 6.00- to 8.99-month-old infants were 10.6% and 39.2%, respectively. Multivariate analyses revealed that mothers who had four or more antenatal clinic visits (AOR = 2.68) and who lived in the provinces of Sindh (AOR = 2.89) and Baluchistan (AOR = 6.75) were more likely to introduce complementary foods early. Mothers from middle-level households (AOR = 7.82), poorer households (AOR = 4.84) and poorest households (AOR = 5.72) were significantly more likely to delay introduction of complementary foods. In conclusion more than half (60.8%) of Pakistani infants do not receive complementary foods at recommended time. Public health interventions to improve the timing of introduction of complementary food are needed at national level with special focus on high risk groups.