Tiny Food Tastings Linked to Shorter Duration of Breastfeeding Interview with:

Maria Grandahl, Associate Professor, PhD, Senior lecturerDirector of Education in Nursing and Midwifery programs Uppsala University Department of Women’s and Children’s Health

Dr. Grandahl

Maria Grandahl, Associate Professor, PhD, Senior lecturer
Director of Education in Nursing and Midwifery programs
Uppsala University
Department of Women’s and Children’s Health
on behalf of authors:
Dr Jenny Stern, Dr Eva-Lotta Funkquist and Dr Maria Grandahl What is the background for this study?

Response: Conflicting advice and non-evidence-based recommendations have a negative effect on breastfeeding. Since 2011, the National Food Agency in Sweden has informed parents that they can introduce tiny tastings (1 mL of solid food, i.e. other sources of nutrition than breastmilk/formula) to infants from four months of age. It is unknown how national recommendations, which differ from the Word Health Organization’s recommendation, affect breastfeeding. What are the main findings?

Response:  As hypothesized introduction of tiny tastings shortened the duration of continued breastfeeding. Half of all infants (48%) were fed with tiny tastings already in the fourth month, and correlation analysis showed that the earlier the infants started with tiny tastings, the earlier they ate larger amounts of solid food. In a multivariate linear regression analysis, five factors were identified as having a negative effect on the duration of breastfeeding: low infant age at the introduction of tiny tastings, low maternal age, low level of maternal education, high maternal BMI, and twin birth. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Early introduction of tiny tastings of solid foods shortened the duration of breastfeeding. Most conditions that affect breastfeeding are difficult to influence, for example, the mother’s educational level, BMI, age and if she has given birth to twins. In contrast, national guidelines can always be updated. Recommendations from the Swedish authorities should adhere to WHO’s recommendation, which states exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for at least two years or longer. What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?

Response: It would be interesting to study the association between prenatal maternal psychological wellbeing and initiation, duration of exclusive breastfeeding. Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?

Response: This study was a part of the longitudinal ‘Swedish Pregnancy Planning Study’. The retrospective data is a limitation, due to potential recall bias. Conversely, the study design cannot provide causes; rather, it shows associations. The response rate for the follow-up (Questionnaire 3, n=1,251), compared with baseline data (a total of 3,389 women completed and returned Questionnaire 1), was lower. In addition, there might be selection bias, since the study design excluded non-Swedish speaking parents. Neither could the study’s findings be generalisable to infants in other countries than Sweden.


Stern, J., Funkquist, EL. & Grandahl, M. The association between early introduction of tiny tastings of solid foods and duration of breastfeeding. Int Breastfeed J 18, 4 (2023).

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Last Updated on January 22, 2023 by Marie Benz MD FAAD