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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


SPYRIDES, Maria Helena Constantino; STRUCHINER, Cláudio José; BARBOSA, Maria Tereza Serrano  and  KAC, Gilberto. Effect of predominant breastfeeding duration on infant growth: prospective study using nonlinear mixed effect models. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2008, vol.84, n.3, pp.237-243. ISSN 1678-4782.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to assess the effect of predominant breastfeeding duration on infant growth by means of repeated measurements model. METHODS: This prospective study is comprised of four follow-up evaluations at approximately 0.5, 2, 6 and 9 months after birth, including structured interviews that simultaneously gathered information regarding infant growth and breastfeeding practices. The study took place in a healthcare center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 1999 to 2001. Four hundred seventy-nine postpartum women and their newborns were enrolled in the cohort. Body weight and length measurements taken at five different occasions (birth, 0.5, 2, 6, and 9 months) constituted the dependent variables. We expressed the growth process using nonlinear mixed models. RESULTS: Infants with longer predominant breastfeeding duration, although growing faster in the first months of life, reached an inferior equilibrium body weight and length compared to infants who received nonhuman milk earlier in life. The age at which the rate of weight gain of the formula-fed infants becomes greater than that of the breastfed infants is approximately 6.75 months for boys and 7 months for girls. CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms the differences observed in infant growth according to different breastfeeding practices starting from the sixth month of life. Use of nonlinear models allowed for a greater precision of parameter estimates. We believe that this approach facilitates the analysis and interpretation of growth data at the individual and population levels.

Keywords : Breastfeeding; infant growth; nonlinear mixed models; repeated measures.

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