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    Growth pattern of exclusively and non-exclusively breastfed infants in Umuahia Urban, Nigeria.

    Ukegbu PO; Uwaegbute AC

    Journal of Community Nutrition & Health. 2013; 2(1):68-75.

    Objective: This was a prospective comparative study carried out from April 2011 to February 2012 to assess the growth pattern of exclusively breast fed (EBF) and non-exclusively breast fed infants (NEBF) in the first six months of life. Methods: A total of 213 lactating mothers and their neonates (less than 7 days) weighing 2.5kg were consecutively recruited into the study and followed up at 6,14 and 24 weeks, Infants were classified into EBF and NEBF groups based on their current feeding pattern during the follow up. Anthropometric measurements of weight and length were taken and compared with WHO reference curves. Data analysis was carried out using frequencies, percentages, means (SD) and t-test. Results: The rate of exclusive breastfeeding declined from 82.5% at delivery to 23% at the end of 24 weeks. The NEBF infants were heavier and longer at birth (P>0.05). The EBF Infants had higher weight (28 vs 22 g/day) and length gain of (0.77 Vs 0.70 cm/week) from 0 to 14 weeks than their NEBF counterpart (p>0.05). Despite a decline in weight gain of EBF infants after the 14 week, they retained the higher mean weight achieved earlier. Average cumulative weight and length gain of 3.71 kg Vs 3.31 kg and 15.33 cm vs 14.56 cm were recorded for EBF and NEBF infants, respectively during the 24 weeks follow up. The mean weight and length of the EBF infants was comparable to the World Health organization (WHO) reference curve than for the NEBF infants. Conclusion: This study has shown that exclusive breastfeeding supported adequate growth in infants studied during the first six months of life.
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