Winter 1997 Newsletter INFACT Canada

Winter 1997 Abstracts

Comparison of maternal absenteeism and infant illness rates among breastfeeding and formula-feeding women in two corporations

Cohen, R. et al. Am J Health Promot 10:148-153, 1995

Although the authors caution that this is a preliminary study, its outcome is of interest to those developing workplace and breastfeeding policies. The study compared the number of illness episodes and maternal absenteeism directly related to child care in two US corporations. A sample of 101 mothers, 59 breastfeeding and 42 using artificial feeding were self selected. Of the 28 per cent of infants with no illnesses, 86 per cent were breastfed and 14 per cent were artificially fed. In comparing maternal absentee rates, 25 per cent of all one day abstentions were among the breastfeeding group and 75 per cent were among the bottle fed.
Implications of this study, if replicated, the authors conclude, show that women who breastfeed their babies are absent from work less frequently and for shorter duration because their babies are sick less frequently and less severely than those who are bottle fed. Such outcomes can have a significant impact on the development of workplace policies for breastfeeding women. Workplace breastfeeding policies programs may be beneficial to the employer.


An investigation into feeding errors of 0-4-month-old infants

Potur, A. H. et al. Journal of Tropical Ped 42,173-175,1996

This study investigated feeding errors associated with artificial supplementary feeding in a population of 206 Turkish infants. Findings showed only 45 per cent of infants to be exclusively breastfed. Of those using artificial milks, 51 per cent were found to be incorrectly diluted. Twenty eight infants had received reconstituted cow's milk powder of which 68 per cent was incorrectly mixed with 18 per cent under diluted and 50 per cent over diluted.
The authors concluded that during the first four months infants should be exclusively breastfed. Infants should receive supplementary feeds only when indicated and instructions on packaging should be designed to ensure correct preparation.


The effect of exclusive breastfeeding on development and incidence of infection in infants

Wang, Y. S. et al. Journal of Human Lactation 12: 27-30, 1996

In response to concerns in China that not supplementing babies early and that exclusive breastfeeding might lead to undernourishment, the researchers looked at the growth and development of exclusively breastfed babies in comparison to partially breastfed infants. The sample consisted of 145 normal, fullterm infants of which 57 were exclusively breastfed and 83 partially breastfed. At four months, the exclusively breastfed infants had growth rates favourable to the normal standards found in Shanghai and significantly higher than the non-exclusively breastfed babies. Nearly 80 per cent of the exclusive group was able to pass all the items in the chronological age or older tests, compared to 64 per cent of the supplemented group. At one year, the exclusively breastfed group scored higher on behavioural and physical development tests and the mean cumulative incidence of infectious diseases over the first year was lower than for the supplemented group.
Confirming other studies finding Bailey Mental Development Index scores higher in exclusively breastfed infants, the authors conclude a positive relationship between benefits and exclusive breastfeeding. "Breastmilk has much higher concentration of taurine, essential lipids, and lactose than any other animal milk. The results of this study provide evidence for mothers and their care providers in promoting a more ideal breastfeeding behaviour."



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