Breastfeeding and introduction of other foods : A prospective longitudinal study in Sweden

Sammanfattning: This study, based on daily recordings of infant feeding, comprised 506 infants from Uppsala, Sweden. All mothers had had previous breastfeeding experience of at least 4 months, and were planning to breastfeed the index child for ≥6 months.Among exclusively breastfed infants there were wide variations in breastfeeding frequency and suckling duration per 24 hours both between infants and in the individual infant over time in the first 6 months. Most infants had an average of 1.0-2.9 feeds per night. Infants using a pacifier had fewer feeds and a shorter total suckling duration per 24 hours, and stopped breastfeeding earlier than infants not using a pacifier. These associations were not found for thumb sucking.Accustoming the infants to solids was a lengthy process, the longer the younger the infant at introduction, and was associated with small changes in pattern and duration of breastfeeding. In contrast, formula was usually given in large amounts from the beginning, and when formula was given regularly the daily breastfeeding frequency and suckling duration declined swiftly. The younger an infant at the start of regular formula feeds, the shorter the breastfeeding duration. Occasional formula feeds did not affect the breastfeeding duration.It is important for health personnel and parents to keep in mind that exclusively breastfed infants are not a homogeneous group, but rather members of distinct 'breastfeeding entities'. Moreover, if the aim is to introduce other foods 'under the protection of breast milk' it is important to realise that formula is also 'another food' and needs to be treated as such.