Role of prolonged breast feeding in infant growth

Acta Paediatr Scand. 1979 Mar;68(2):245-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1979.tb04996.x.


The growth of 238 healthy full-term infants was followed under a carefully monitored nutritional protocol during the first year of life. The infants were weaned at different ages either to a proprietary infant milk formula or to a home-prepared cow's milk formula. Solid foods were introduced at 3.5 months of age. The 56 infants who were breast-fed for a period of at least 6 months were compared to infants weaned prior to one month of age to one of the two milk regimens. In the breast-fed infants, the weight, weight-for-height-age, and skinfold thickness were similar to values in the proprietary formula-fed infants but were lower than the corresponding values in the cow's milk-fed infants at 6 months of age and subsequently. By using weight-for-height-age as a criterion, no obesity was found among any of the 238 infants, and only 1.7% were considered to be overweight. The results indicate that present recommendations for infant feeding in Finland--including prolonged breast feeding, the use of proprietary milk formulas after weaning, and later introduction of solid foods--prevent overnutrition.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Cattle
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Growth*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Milk
  • Milk, Human
  • Pregnancy
  • Skinfold Thickness