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Differences in weaning practice, food and nutrient intake between breast- and formula-fed 4-month-old infants in England

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Abstract Background 

Breastfed infants may grow more slowly in the second half of infancy than formula-fed infants, differences in weaning practice may contribute. Methods 

Dietary intakes of 4-month-old infants have been investigated cross-sectionally. Diet was assessed using a structured 1-day un-weighed dietary record in 852 white singletons (72% of those invited) from a random sub-sample of infants taking part in Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Nutrient intakes of formula-fed infants were compared by sex and with UK reference values. Estimated mean energy and nutrient intakes, mean bodyweight and daily quantities of food consumed were compared by weaning practice. Results 

In formula-fed infants mean energy intakes and intakes of most nutrients were adequate. There were significant differences in intakes of most nutrients by weaning practice; however, mean energy intake and body weight of breastfed infants was similar to formula-fed infants. Infants given formula milk were less likely to consume vegetables and fruit, and more likely to consume commercial infant drinks, compared with infants who were breastfed. In breastfed infants breast milk intake was lower if solids were given (905 g versus 818 g; P = 0.01); however, nutrient intake was not compromised. In formula-fed infants milk intake was not different in those having solids compared to those having milk only (810 g versus 795 g; P = 0.649). Conclusions 

Differences in weaning practice and patterns of food consumption were seen between breast- and formula-fed infants, these may contribute to later growth differences.
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Keywords: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children; breastfeeding; energy; food groups; formula feeding; infants; nutrients; weaning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK 2: Community-based Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

Publication date: 2006-08-01

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