Pattern of urine specific gravity in exclusively breastfed and water-supplemented infants

  • GO Ogunrinde Department of Paediatrics, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria
  • JO Alegbejo


Background: Exclusive breastfeeding, an essential intervention for the reduction of infant mortality, is not widely practised. A major reason is the issue of thirst, especially in the hot regions of the world.

Objective: To describe the pattern of specific gravity of breastfeeding infants aged 0-6 months as a measure of their hydration status, and thereby determine the need, or otherwise, of supplemental water in the first six months of life in Zaria, in the Guinea Savannah region of Nigeria.

Design: Cross-sectional and hospital based. Patients and participants: Well babies, aged 0-6 months and being breastfed, attending the well baby clinic and immunization clinic of Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital between March and September, 1998.

Method: A structured questionnaire and urine specific gravity measurements with a refractometer were used to compare data between exclusively and predominantly breastfed infants.

Results: Urine specific gravity measurements were comparable in both exclusively breastfed and water-supplemented infants.

Conclusion: Water supplementation in the first six months of life is not essential. Exclusive breastfeeding, therefore, should be actively encouraged.

Sahel Medical Journal Vol. 8(3) 2005: 60-64

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eISSN: 1118-8561