Bachrach VR, Schwarz E, Bachrach LR. Breastfeeding and the risk of hospitalization for respiratory disease in infancy: a meta-analysis. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med.157: 237-43, 2003

     To examine the relationship between infant feeding and the risk of hospitalization for lower respiratory tract disease in healthy full-term infants, the researchers examined titles, abstracts, and text of studies from developed countries for mode of infant feeding and lower respiratory tract disease hospitalization rates. Three criteria were applied: (1) a minimum of 2 months of exclusive breastfeeding (no formula supplementation) vs no breastfeeding, (2) a study populations that excluded sick, low birth weight or premature infants and (3) reflected affluent regions. Data from all primary material (33 studies) indicated a protective association between breastfeeding and the risk of respiratory disease hospitalization. They concluded that "among generally healthy infants in developed nations, more than a tripling in severe respiratory tract illnesses resulting in hospitalizations was noted for infants who were not breastfed compared with those who were exclusively breastfed for 4 months."


Breastmilk changes to suit needs of sick infant

    A study presented at the Australian Society for Medical Research highlights the important capacity of breastmilk to prevent infection and to moderate the impact any infections may have on the severity of an illness a baby may contract. The South Australian research suggests that the quality of breastmilk might be enhanced if a mother is exposed to a range of viruses and bacteria while nursing.


    Student Dani-Louise Bryan of Flinders University tested 99 breastfeeding mothers and found milk produced when babies were infected with respiratory syncytial virus contained more protective factors. She based her findings on an analysis of milk samples from 36 mothers whose babies were hospitalised with virus- elated bronchiolitis and 63 whose children were well.


    Ms Bryan said this was probably because exposure to the infant's infection sparked an immune response in the mother, which altered the milks composition. From: The Bordermail, June 4, 2003 http://www.bordermail.com.au/newsflow/pageitem?page_id=596871


Simondon KB et al. Lactational amenorrhea is associated with child age at the time of introduction of complementary food: a prospective cohort study from rural Senegal, West Africa. Am J Clin Nutr 78: 154-161, 2003

    In many countries lactational amenorrhea is the most important means for birth spacing and an important measure to reduce both infant and maternal mortality. This study documents the relationship between the introduction of complementary foods and the resumption of menstruation in 855 Senegalese women. When complementary foods were introduced after 6 to 7 months of age, there was a lower chance of resuming menstruation than when other foods were introduced before 6 to 7 months. In conclusion, the child's age at introduction of complementary foods is significantly associated with the onset of menstruation postpartum.


De Onis M, Onyango AW. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2000 growth charts and the growth of breastfed infants. Acta Paediatr 92: 413-419, 2003

    To assess the effectiveness of growth for healthy breastfed babies, between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth charts and the National Center for Health Statistics/World Health Organization (NCHS/WHO) reference, a comparison was made using the anthropometric data of healthy breastfed infants.    


    This interesting comparison serves to emphasize the need for growth standards based on healthy breastfed infants. The WHO comparison pooled length and weight measurements for 226 healthy breastfed infants and gave CDC and NCHS/WHO scores to each child for: weight-for-age (WA); weight-for-length (WL); and length for age (LA).


    When compared toCDC (WA) growth charts, breastfed infants grow faster in the first 2 months of life and less rapidly from 3 to 12 months. Additionally, the breastfed infants showed greater linear growth than the CDC median up to 4 months of age.


    Overall the growth patterns of infants on the CDC reference are heavier and shorter than the NCHS/WHO reference population.


    In conclusion there are critical differences in the growth patterns of breastfed infants when examined against the CDC charts. The need for growth standards of breastfed infants are essential if the growth patterns of infants following international feeding recommendations are to be correctly assessed.   


Spring 2003 Newsletters Contents