Article Text

HEALTH OUTCOMES AND INFANT’S GROWTH IN A PROSPECTIVE COHORT STUDY IN GERMANY: ASSOCIATION WITH BREASTFEEDING DURATION AND INTENSITY
  1. B Rebhan1,
  2. M Kohlhuber1,
  3. U Schwegler1,
  4. B Koletzko2,
  5. H Fromme1
  1. 1Department of Environmental Health, Bavarian Health and Food Safety Agency, Oberschleissheim, Germany
  2. 2Dr. Von Hauner Children’s Hospital, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Munich, Germany

Abstract

Objective To describe infant growth in relation to breastfeeding intensity and to investigate the relation between breastfeeding intensity and infant health in months 1 to 9.

Methods Mothers who delivered a baby in April 2005 in Bavaria, Germany, were recruited for a prospective cohort study in 141 clinics, 10 birth houses and by home-birth assisting midwives. Health and weight data assessed by a physician and detailed breastfeeding data were available from questionnaires at the age of 2–6 days, 2, 4, 6 and 9 months. Subjects were healthy term infants weighing ⩾2500 g at birth. We compared 475 infants breastfed exclusively for ⩾6 months (group A), 870 infants breastfed fully or exclusively ⩾4 months with continued exclusive/full/partial or no breastfeeding until month 6 (group B) and 619 infants breastfed <4 months or not breastfed (group C).

Results Multivariate analysis showed that group A had a significantly reduced risk for ⩾1 episode of GIT-infection during months 1–9 compared to group C (adjusted OR, 0.60; 95% CI 0.44 to 0.82; p<0.01), whereas a protective effect for group B was not significant in multivariate analysis. Applying WHO-child-growth-standards we found lower weight-for-length z-scores in the first days of life in group C vs. A and B. In month 6 or 7 group C had the highest weight-for-length z-scores.

Conclusion Our findings support the recommendation for ⩾6 months of exclusive breastfeeding; causality cannot be derived from our findings. Research is needed to explain the differences in child growth between the groups.

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