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J Perinat Med. 1998;26(3):186-91.

Intestinal flora in breast- and bottle-fed infants.

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Department of Pediatrics, Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy.


We verified whether an adapted formula, which presents poly-oligosaccharides containing maltose, promotes intestinal implantation of bacterial microflora to the extent that breast milk does, as an epidemiological link exists between newborn feeding methods and infant health. Stool specimens were taken and cultured at the fourth day of life from vaginally born neonates. Twenty-two were breast-fed and 20 were fed with formula. In breast-fed infants, the Bifidobacterium was significantly prevalent expressed in percentage (47.6% vs 15%) and in mean bacterial fecal counts/g (7.1 +/- 0.8 vs 5.3 +/- 0.6). Enterococci prevailed in formula-fed infants (mean counts 6.7 +/- 0.9 vs 7.4 +/- 0.5). Of interest is the significant and simultaneous presence of Bifidobacteria and Bacteroides in breast-fed infants. Our study indicates that flora with a diet-dependent pattern is present from the fourth day of life. These results support a preference for breast feeding over formula feeding, even though renewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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