Table 1

Definitions of breast feeding patterns

Breast feeding patternDefinition
*This definition is not a standard WHO definition but has come into common usage in HIV transmission research. Our definition, above, was used for the purposes of this study.
Exclusive breast feeding (EBF)Means giving the infant no other food or drink, not even water, apart from breast milk (including expressed breast milk), with the exception of drops or syrups consisting of vitamins, mineral supplements, or prescribed medicines24
Predominant breast feedingThe infant’s predominant source of nourishment is breast milk. However, the infant may also have received water or water based drinks (sweetened or flavoured water, teas, infusions, etc); fruit juice; oral rehydration salts (ORS); drop and syrup form vitamins, minerals, and medicines; and folk fluids (liquids used for non-nutritional purposes; for example, oil for constipation or tea for relief of colic). With the exception of fruit juice and sugar-water, no food based fluid is allowed under this definition24
Partial breast feedingMeans giving a baby some breast feeds, and some artificial feeds, either milk or cereal, or other food25
Mixed breast feeding*Means giving a baby some breast milk and also any other fluid or feeds, even a teaspoon of water (that is, includes predominant and partial breast feeding)