Growth Pattern Of Exclusively Breastfed Infants In The First Six Months Of Life: A Study Of Babies Delivered At The University Of Portharcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State, Nigeria
Background: Some authors demonstrate that exclusively breastfed infants have growth patterns comparable with the NCHS standards while others conclude that exclusively breastfed infants grow slower. These conflicting results informed the need for this study to aid the paediatricians and health workers to justify or condemn the recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for six months. This was a prospective longitudinal study carried out to determine the growth pattern of exclusively breastfed infants in the first 6 months of life and compare them with the International, National Centre for Health Statistics (NCHS/WHO) reference and the Local, Janes\' Elite Standards. Method: Using weight, length and occipito-frontal circumference as indices, 530 infants were recruited consecutively by convenience sampling over 17 months. Measurements were taken at birth, 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 2 months and subsequently monthly until the end of the 6th month. Results: The exclusively breastfed infants doubled their birth weights at 3 months. The mean weight, OFC and length gains were maximal at 2 months, 2 weeks and 2 months respectively.The growth of exclusively breastfed infants compared favourably with the NCHS/WHO reference group and also compared favourably with the Janes\' \'Elite\' reference group. Conclusion: It is concluded that the growth in weight, length and OFC of exclusively breastfed infants appears adequate for the first 6 months of life.
Nigerian Journal of Medicine Vol. 17 (3) 2008: pp. 317-323