[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To examine the effects of formula, other milks, other liquids, cereals, and other solid foods on growth during infancy.
Observational cohort study nested within a large (n=17,046), cluster-randomized trial. We compared growth [weight-for-age, length-for-age, and weight-for-length z scores (WAZ, LAZ, WLZ) and head circumference (HC)] during the intervals 1 to 3, 3 to 6, 6 to 9, and 9 to 12 months, using hierarchical multivariate regression to control for size at the beginning of each interval, maternal education, geographic region, and urban versus rural location.
Mixed BF and formula/other milk were associated with significantly higher (versus breast milk only) LAZ at 1 to 3 months (+0.038 and +0.047, respectively). In the 3- to 6-month interval, mixed BF and formula/other milk led to significantly higher WAZ (+0.125 and +0.139) and LAZ (+0.081 and +0.075), whereas cereal intake was associated with large and highly significant reductions in both measures (-0.293 and -0.240) and in HC (-0.291 cm). Mixed BF and formula/other milk continued to have positive albeit smaller associations with WAZ and LAZ in the 6- to 9-month and 9- to 12-month intervals.
Our results confirm the growth-accelerating effects of formula and other milks (versus breast milk) on weight and length gain throughout infancy, with a dose-response gradient and largest associations observed at 3 to 6 months.
Journal of Pediatrics 12/2004; 145(5):600-5. · 3.74 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Frequent infection in infancy and early childhood has been hypothesized to explain the low prevalence of asthma and other atopic disease among children in developing countries (the so-called 'hygiene hypothesis'), but the low prevalence in Eastern Europe remains unexplained.
To test the hygiene hypothesis in the Republic of Belarus by examining the relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) and respiratory infection and two potentially atopic outcomes in the first 12 months of life: atopic eczema and recurrent wheeze. METHODS; We carried out two case-control studies nested within a large (n=17 046) randomized trial in Belarus, with cases defined as (1) first occurrence of atopic eczema (n=819) and (2) second episode of wheezing (n=112). Incidence density sampling was used to select four matched controls born within 1 month at the same hospital as the case. Exposure was defined as one or more episodes of GI or respiratory infection (examined separately) with onset >7 days before onset of the case's atopic outcome. Analyses controlled for family atopic history, duration of exclusive breastfeeding, sex, birth weight, maternal education, and (for recurrent wheeze) maternal smoking.
For atopic eczema, prior GI infection occurred in 7.4% of cases vs. 6.0% of controls [adjusted OR=1.27 (0.94-1.72)] and prior respiratory infection in 35.2% vs. 32.6% [adjusted OR=1.14 (95% CI=0.94-1.37)]. For recurrent wheeze, prior GI infection occurred in 9.8% of cases vs. 7.4% of controls [adjusted OR=1.30 (0.60-2.82)].
Our results do not support the hypothesis that infection protects against atopic eczema or recurrent wheezing in the first 12 months of life.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Opinions and recommendations about the optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding have been strongly divided, but few published studies have provided direct evidence on the relative risks and benefits of different breastfeeding durations in recipient infants.
We examined the effects on infant growth and health of 3 compared with 6 mo of exclusive breastfeeding.
We conducted an observational cohort study nested within a large randomized trial in Belarus by comparing 2862 infants exclusively breastfed for 3 mo (with continued mixed breastfeeding through >/= 6 mo) with 621 infants who were exclusively breastfed for >/= 6 mo. Regression to the mean, within-cluster correlation, and cluster- and individual-level confounding variables were accounted for by using multilevel regression analyses.
From 3 to 6 mo, weight gain was slightly greater in the 3-mo group [difference: 29 g/mo (95% CI: 13, 45 g/mo)], as was length gain [difference: 1.1 mm (0.5, 1.6 mm)], but the 6-mo group had a faster length gain from 9 to 12 mo [difference: 0.9 mm/mo (0.3, 1.5 mm/mo)] and a larger head circumference at 12 mo [difference: 0.19 cm (0.07, 0.31 cm)]. A significant reduction in the incidence density of gastrointestinal infection was observed during the period from 3 to 6 mo in the 6-mo group [adjusted incidence density ratio: 0.35 (0.13, 0.96)], but no significant differences in risk of respiratory infectious outcomes or atopic eczema were apparent.
Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 mo is associated with a lower risk of gastrointestinal infection and no demonstrable adverse health effects in the first year of life.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 08/2003; 78(2):291-5. · 6.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Available evidence suggests that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding is associated with lower infant weight and length by 6 to 12 months of age. This evidence, however, is based on observational studies, which are unable to separate the effects of feeding mode per se from selection bias, reverse causality, and the confounding effects of maternal attitudinal factors.
A cluster-randomized trial in the Republic of Belarus of a breastfeeding promotion intervention modeled on the World Health Organization (WHO)/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative versus control (then current) infant feeding practices. Healthy, full-term, singleton breastfed infants (n = 17 046) weighing > or =2500 g were enrolled soon after birth and followed up at 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months old for measurements of weight, length, and head circumference. Data were analyzed according to intention-to-treat, while accounting for within-cluster correlation. To assess the potential for bias in observational studies of breastfeeding, we also analyzed our data as if we had conducted an observational study by ignoring treatment, combining the 2 randomized groups, and comparing 1378 infants weaned in the first month and those breastfed for the full 12 months of follow-up with either > or =3 months (n = 1271) or > or =6 months (n = 251) of exclusive breastfeeding.
Infants from the experimental sites were significantly more likely to be breastfed (to any degree) at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months and were far more likely to be exclusively breastfed at 3 months (43.3% vs 6.4%). Mean birth weight was nearly identical in the 2 groups (3448 g, experimental; 3446 g, control). Mean weight was significantly higher in the experimental group by 1 month of age (4341 vs 4280 g). The difference increased through 3 months (6153 g vs 6047 g), declined slowly thereafter, and disappeared by 12 months (10564 g vs 10571 g). Analysis by z scores confirmed that infants in both groups gained more weight than the WHO/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reference, with no evidence of undernutrition in the control group. Length followed a similar pattern. In the observational analyses, infants weaned in the first month were slightly lighter and shorter at birth and their weight-for-age and length-for-age z scores declined by 1 month, but they caught up to both experimental and the other observational groups by 6 months and were heavier and longer by 12 months. Among infants in the 2 prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding groups, weight-for-age z scores fell slightly between 3 and 12 months; length-for-age fell below the reference by 6 months with catch-up to the reference by 12 months. Head circumference showed no significant differences at any age between the 2 trial groups or among the observational groups.
Our data, the first in humans based on a randomized experiment, suggest that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding may actually accelerate weight and length gain in the first few months, with no detectable deficit by 12 months old. These results add support to current WHO and UNICEF feeding recommendations. Our observational analysis showing faster weight and length gains with early weaning and slower gains with prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding may reflect unmeasured confounding differences or a true biological effect of formula feeding.