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J Pediatr. 1977 May;90(5):726-9.

Morbidity in breast-fed and artificially fed infants.


One-half of the healthy newborn infants at a rural medical center were initially breast fed; the proportion declined to 4% by one year of age. Breast-feeding was associated with significantly less illnes during the first year, especially if continued beyond 41/2 months of age. Breat-fedding was associated with a higher level of parental education and, by inference, higher socioeconomic status. The health advantage of breast-feeding was still evident after controlling for parental educational status. In better educated families the difference in significant illness between infants who were artifically fed and those who were breast fed for prolonged periods of time was two- to threefold.


A study was conducted into the relative morbidity among breast- and bottle-fed infants in a rural area in New York state. The records of 326 infants born at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, New York, were reviewed. Of these, 253 were seen regularly at the pediatric clinic during the 1st year of life. 1/2 of the newborns were initially breast fed; the proportion dropped to 4% by the end of 1 year. Breast fed babies suffered significantly less illness during the 1st year, especially when the breastfeeding was prolonged beyond 4 1/2 months. The incidence of breast feeding was significantly associated with higher educational levels for both mothers and fathers and with increased maternal age. The health advantages of breast feeding, however, were independent of educational levels and, by inference, the family's socioeconomic status.

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