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Exclusive breastfeeding duration and infant infection

Quigley, MA; Carson, C; Sacker, A; Kelly, Y; (2016) Exclusive breastfeeding duration and infant infection. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition , 70 pp. 1420-1427. 10.1038/ejcn.2016.135. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: We estimated the risk of infection associated with the duration of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF). SUBJECT/METHODS: We analysed the data on 15 809 term, singleton infants from the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Infants were grouped according to months of EBF: never, <2, 2-4, 4-6 and 6 (the latter being World Health Organisation (WHO) policy since 2001: 'post-2001 WHO policy'). Among those EBF for 4-6 months, we separated those who started solids, but not formula, before 6 months, and were still breastfeeding at 6 months (that is, WHO policy before 2001: 'pre-2001 WHO policy'), from other patterns. Outcomes were infection in infancy (chest, diarrhoeal and ear). RESULTS: EBF was not associated with the ear infection, but was associated with chest infection and diarrhoea. EBF for <4 months was associated with a significantly increased risk of chest infection (adjusted risk ratios (RR) 1.24-1.28) and diarrhoea (adjusted RRs 1.42-1.66) compared with the pre-2001 WHO policy. There was an excess risk of the chest infection (adjusted RR 1.19, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.97-1.46) and diarrhoea (adjusted RR 1.66, 95% CI: 1.11, 2.47) among infants EBF for 4-6 months, but who stopped breastfeeding by 6 months, compared with the pre-2001 WHO policy. There was no significant difference in the risk of chest infection or diarrhoea in those fed according to the pre-2001 versus post-2001 WHO policy. CONCLUSIONS: There is an increased risk of infection in infants EBF for <4 months or EBF for 4-6 months who stop breastfeeding by 6 months. These results support current guidelines of EBF for either 4-6 or 6 months, with continued breastfeeding thereafter.European Journal of Clinical Nutrition advance online publication, 27 July 2016; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2016.135.

Type: Article
Title: Exclusive breastfeeding duration and infant infection
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/ejcn.2016.135
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2016.135
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2016. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1505893
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