This study used a unique longitudinal survey of more than 3000 mother-infant pairs observed from pregnancy through infancy. The sample is representative of infants from the Cebu region of the Philippines. The sequencing of breast-feeding and diarrheal morbidity events was carefully examined in a longitudinal analysis which allowed for the examination of age-specific effects of feeding patterns. Because the work controlled for a wide range of environmental causes of diarrhea, the results can be generalized to other populations with some confidence. The addition to the breast-milk diet of even water, teas, and other nonnutritive liquids doubled or tripled the likelihood of diarrhea. Supplementation of breast-feeding with additional nutritive foods on liquids further increased significantly the risk of diarrhea; most benefits of breast-feeding alone on in combination with nutritive foods/liquids became small during the second half of infancy. Benefits of breast-feeding were slightly greater in urban environments.
- Received September 29, 1989.
- Accepted January 2, 1990.
- Copyright © 1990 by the American Academy of Pediatrics