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Do early infant feeding patterns relate to breast-feeding continuation and weight gain? Data from a longitudinal cohort study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Margaret Wright, Dr Kathryn Parkinson


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Objectives: To describe the first-week feeding patterns for breast- vs bottle-fed babies, and their association with sustained breast-feeding and infant weight gain at 6 weeks. Design: A longitudinal cohort study. Setting: Feeding diaries were completed by mothers in an urban UK community shortly after birth; follow-up weight and feeding data were collected at routine health checks. Subjects: Mothers of 923 full-term infants born during the recruiting period agreed to join the study. In all, 502 usable diaries were returned from 54% of the cohort. Results: Breast-fed infants were fed more frequently (2.71 h between feeds) than bottle-fed infants (3.25 h between feeds) and mixed-fed infants (3.14 h between feeds) (P<0.001) in the first week of life, while duration of feeds was similar. Only exclusive breast-feeding in the first week (P< 0.001) and maternal education (P = 0.004) were related to continued breast-feeding at 6 weeks. Greater first-week feeding frequency (as measured by feed-to-feed interval, h) was associated with higher weight gain at 6 weeks for breast-feeders, but no analysed factors were associated with higher weight gain for bottle-feeders. Conclusions: This large-scale study of first-week feeding patterns sheds light on the important and complicated issues of breast-feeding continuation and infant weight gain, with implications for the feeding advice given to mothers. Supplementary bottle feeds were clearly associated with discontinued breast-feeding at 6 weeks. Over that period, higher weight gain was associated with more frequent feeding for breast-fed infants only. © 2004 Nature Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Casiday RE, Wright CM, Panter-Brick C, Parkinson KN

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Year: 2004

Volume: 58

Issue: 9

Pages: 1290-1296

ISSN (print): 0954-3007

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5640

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601964

PubMed id: 15054405


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