Journal of Biosocial Science

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Regular Articles

ESTIMATION OF BIRTHS AVERTED DUE TO BREAST-FEEDING AND INCREASES IN LEVELS OF CONTRACEPTION NEEDED TO SUBSTITUTE FOR BREAST-FEEDING


STAN  BECKER  a1, SHEA  RUTSTEIN  a2 and MIRIAM H.  LABBOK  a3
a1 Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
a2 Macro International, Calverton, MD, USA
a3 UNICEF, New York, NY, USA

Abstract

After contraceptive use, breast-feeding duration is the major determinant of the birth interval length. Three methods of estimating births averted by breast-feeding, and the increase in contraceptive use needed to substitute for breast-feeding, are presented. Method 1 simply utilizes Bongaarts’ Ci, and the other two are based on mean birth intervals with and without breast-feeding. Estimates for each method are derived for six countries with DHS surveys from the mid-1990s: Burkina Faso, Uganda, India, Indonesia, Brazil and Peru. The estimated percentage of additional births that would occur if there were no breast-feeding ranged from 1–4% in Brazil to about 50% in Burkina Faso and Uganda, reflecting very low breast-feeding in Brazil and very high levels in the sub-Saharan African nations. Strengths and limitations of the three methods are considered.