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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910On-line version ISSN 1518-8787


XAVIER, César C.; JORGE, Salim M.  and  GONCALVES, Arthur L.. Prevalence of breast feeding of low birthweight infants. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1991, vol.25, n.5, pp.381-387. ISSN 1518-8787.

The present situation regarding the breast feeding of children born with a weight of 2,500 grammes or less (LWB) at the Hospital das Clínicas of the Medical School of the Universidade de S. Paulo in Ribeirão Preto (Brazil) was studied. The study was descriptive and the data were obtained through a longitudinal follow-up carried over the period from October 1985 to September 1986 inclusive. Of the 222 children included in the study, 30 (13.5%) infants were not breastfed. Thus the incidence of breast feeding among this population was of 86.5%. At 3 months 62.5% of these infants were still being breastfed. At 6 months this figure fell to 38.5% and only 25.0% were still being breast-fed at the end of 12 months. The average duration of breast feeding for the 192 children that had started it was of 4 months. An association was found between the level of literacy of the mothers and the duration of breast feeding. Birthweight was found to be associated with the incidence and duration of breast feeding in general, as well as with the incidence of exclusive breast feeding. These data are considerably lower than recent figures obtained from the populations of well-developed countries, especially than those of Finnish infants born with a weight of less than 1.500 g. Action programmes involving the community and/or the Institution must be implemented in order to improve these figures.

Keywords : Breast feeding; Infant, low birthweight; Weaning.

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