Editorials

Increasing exclusive breast feeding

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39330.522014.80 (Published 20 September 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:574
  1. Maria A Quigley, statistical epidemiologist
  1. National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7LF
  1. maria.quigley{at}npeu.ox.ac.uk

    Interventions are effective but must be tailored to the specific setting

    In this week's BMJ, a randomised controlled trial by Su and colleagues compares the effect of two different strategies on the rate of exclusive breast feeding in 450 healthy pregnant women in a tertiary hospital in Singapore.1 The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that, wherever possible, infants are exclusively breast fed for the first six months after birth2; during this period they should receive breast milk only, and no other liquids (except drugs) or solids. In developing countries, where the risk of infection is high and facilities for adequate sterilisation are scarce, breast feeding protects against infant mortality, particularly mortality related to infection.3 Rates of breast feeding are high in such countries, but rates of exclusive breast feeding are lower as a result of certain cultural practices, such as delaying the initiation of breast feeding and giving prelacteal feeds.4 However, starting breastfeeding on the first day after birth protects against neonatal mortality.4 Exclusive and predominant breast feeding compared with partial breast feeding …

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