Duration of breastfeeding, daycare, and physician visits among infants 6 months and younger

Ann Epidemiol. 2003 Jul;13(6):431-5. doi: 10.1016/s1047-2797(02)00463-5.


Purpose: To describe the association between duration of breastfeeding and an illness requiring a visit to a health care provider within the past 30 days (IRHP) among infants </= 6 months.

Methods: Participants were breastfeeding women who delivered at a birthing center in suburban Detroit, Michigan and women employed by a company in Omaha, Nebraska. Subjects were interviewed by telephone at 3,6,9, and 12 weeks postpartum and by mailed questionnaire at 6 months postpartum.

Results: Of the 674 breastfeeding women, 233 (34.5%) reported an IRHP. An IRHP was more likely among infants attending daycare (RR = 1.60; 95% CI 1.30, 1.96). There was an interaction between duration of breastfeeding, the number of children in the household, and IRHP (p < 0.0001). For firstborn children, each additional week of breastfeeding decreased the likelihood of an IRHP by 4%. An increased duration of breastfeeding was not significantly protective against an IRHP for infants living with additional children in the household.

Conclusions: Breastfeeding offers protection against an IRHP among firstborn children. Having additional children in the household or attending daycare outside of the home may diminish these benefits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Day Care Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Linear Models
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Nebraska / epidemiology
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data*
  • Otitis / epidemiology
  • Otitis / prevention & control
  • Parity
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / prevention & control
  • Risk Assessment
  • Smoking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires