Breast feeding and infant growth, a follow-up study in Menoufia, Egypt

Popul Sci. 1990 Jul;9:69-75.


PIP: Staff from a maternal and child health (MCH) center in urban Shebeen El Kom and from an MCH center in rural Om-khnan in Menoufia Governate, Egypt followed 200 newborn infants for 6 months. The mean birth weight stood at 3.3 kg, mean birth length 50.2 cm, mean head circumference at birth 34.5 cm, and the mean mid arm circumference at birth 10.2 cm. Infants which were exclusively breast fed lost 14 percentiles of weight for age from birth-6 months while those which were exclusively formula fed lost 18 percentiles. On the other hand, those which received solid food in addition to breast milk gained 24 percentiles. Similarly, exclusively breast fed infants lost 6 percentiles of length for age and exclusively formula fed infants lost 8 percentiles. Infants which breast fed and had solid food supplements gained 14 percentiles. In addition, breast fed infants regardless of solid food supplementation maintained their percentiles for age for head circumference while formula fed infants lost 8 percentiles. The reduced growth velocity in formula fed infants may be due to dilutions of formula and an increased incidence of infections, especially gastroenteritis. After 3-4 months of lactation, the breast milk yield fell in the mothers who exclusively breast fed their infants which may have caused a reduction in growth velocity. No group of infants experienced an increase in protein energy malnutrition. Even though there was a reduced growth velocity in these infants, research shows that breast fed infants maintain a better health status and have fewer infections than nonexclusively breast fed infants. In fact, no evidence exists that shows more rapid growth of normal neonates to be desirable.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Africa
  • Africa, Northern
  • Age Factors
  • Biology
  • Birth Weight*
  • Body Weight
  • Bottle Feeding*
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Child Development
  • Deficiency Diseases
  • Demography
  • Developing Countries
  • Diarrhea
  • Diarrhea, Infantile*
  • Disease
  • Egypt
  • Follow-Up Studies*
  • Growth*
  • Health
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Infant*
  • Infections*
  • Kwashiorkor*
  • Longitudinal Studies*
  • Methods*
  • Middle East
  • Nutrition Disorders
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Physiology
  • Population
  • Population Characteristics
  • Research