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Infant feeding, solid foods and hospitalisation in the first 8 months after birth
  1. M A Quigley1,
  2. Y J Kelly2,
  3. A Sacker3
  1. 1
    National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  2. 2
    Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  3. 3
    Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Colchester, UK
  1. Maria A Quigley, National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, Old Road Campus, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LF, UK; maria.quigley{at}


Most infants in the UK start solids before the recommended age of 6 months. We assessed the independent effects of solids and breast feeding on the risk of hospitalisation for infection in term, singleton infants in the Millennium Cohort Study (n = 15 980). For both diarrhoea and lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI), the monthly risk of hospitalisation was significantly lower in those receiving breast milk compared with those receiving formula. The monthly risk of hospitalisation was not significantly higher in those who had received solids compared with those not on solids (for diarrhoea, adjusted odds ratio 1.39, 95% CI 0.75 to 2.59; for LRTI, adjusted odds ratio 1.14, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.70), and the risk did not vary significantly according to the age of starting solids.

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  • See Editorial,, p 79

  • Funding: The National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit is funded by the Department of Health in England.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Ethical approval for the MCS was granted from the Multi-centre Research Ethics Committee.

  • Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Health.

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