Longitudinal Cohort in Southern India Assessing the Growth and Development among Exclusively Breastfed Infants
Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) has a potential role for infants in attaining timely developmental milestones. A community-based longitudinal study was conducted over 12 months in 252 mother-infant pairs living in southern Chennai and adjoining districts of Chengalpet and Kanchipuram. They were followed up for six time-points in each month to assess the EBF status, measure growth and check for developmental milestones appropriate for age.The relationship between EBF duration in each of the first 6 months and infant development was analyzed using t-test and logistic regression analysis was applied to determine the magnitude of association.Infants who were exclusively breastfed until 6 months of age had a better weight gain (p<0.01) and communication skills (OR - 0.75 (0.58 – 0.96)) at 6 months when compared to infants who did not breastfeed at all. EBF in infants up to 6 months was associated with significantly better infant development, however the same couldn’t be established for EBF of shorter duration.
Keywords - Exclusive Breast Feeding, Growth and Development Milestones