Questions concerning the advantages of breast-feeding have been debated since the introduction of commercially-prepared formula about 50 years ago. Some recognized benefits of breast milk include less respiratory as well as other Infections, less allergy in infancy and later life, and a lower morbidity rate in less-developed countries. From 1955 to 1971 in the United States there was a decline in the incidence of breast feeding related to several factors which included the introduction of formula, mothers returning to the work force, and strict maternity units' rules and routines. Since 1971 to the present there has been a resurgence in the incidence of breast-feeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics in 1978 issued a statement in support of breast-feeding and recommended intensified promotion and return to breast-feeding. In this comparative study of 50 infants from birth to 12 weeks of age, the data supported some important findings relating to illnesses and feeding methods.
The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of two methods of feeding on infant health. It was hoped that the findings would enable nurses to better assist expectant mothers in making a decision on infant feeding methods.
The null hypotheses were: (1) there will be no significant difference (p=0.05) in the number of respiratory disorders between bottle-fed and breast-fed infants from birth to 12 weeks of age, (2) there will be no significant difference (p=0.05) in the number of gastrointestinal disorders between bottle-fed and breast-fed infants from birth to 12 weeks of age, and (3) there will be no significant difference (p=0.05) in the number of allergies between bottle-fed and breast-fed infants from birth to 12 weeks of age.
A nonrandom convenience sample of 50 clients was selected for the study. Twenty-five mothers were in the breast-feeding group and 25 were in the bottle-feeding group. A booklet was designed and given to each of the mothers in which she was to record her infant's illnesses. These included: the common cold, otitis media, bronchitis, pneumonia, vomiting, diarrhea, colic, eczema, hives, and asthma. The booklet also included diet record forms on which the mother indicated when the solid foods such as cereals, vegetables, fruits, juices, meats, and eggs were introduced to the infant's diet.
The data were analyzed using the stepwise multiple regression analysis with the frequency of the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and allergic disorders as the dependent variables. The independent variables consisted of the feeding method and the solid foods. The feeding method was forced into the analysis by the remaining variables.
Do breast-fed infants have fewer respiratory disorders than bottle-fed infants? There were more respiratory disorders noted in the bottle-fed group (23) as compared to the breast-fed group (13), but this was not statistically significant; therefore, null hypothesis #1 was retained.
Do breast-fed infants have fewer gastrointestinal disorders than bottle-fed infants? The data analysis indicated that there was a significant difference in the frequency of gastrointestinal disorders noted (p < .01) among the breast-fed (29) and bottle-fed (90) groups; thus, null hypothesis #2 was rejected. The gastrointestinal disorders occurred more frequently in the bottle-fed infants. The stepwise multiple regression analysis indicated that there may be an association with increased frequency of vomiting and early introduction of juices. A direct cause and effect relationship, however, was not established.
Do breast-fed infants have fewer allergic disorders than bottle-fed infants? The data analysis indicated no significant difference in the incidences of allergic disorders among the breast-fed (4) and bottle-fed (2) groups; therefore, null hypothesis #3 was retained.
Some implications for nursing from this study indicate that community health nurses and others who provide information to expectant mothers about the advantages of breast-feeding should include the fact that mothers who breast-feed their babies have fewer episodes of respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders than mothers who bottle-feed.
Frances P. Miller
Clarice W. Woodward
Nancy L. Hosek
Master of Science (MS)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Infant Nutrition Disorders; Bottle Feeding; Breast Feeding
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Souza, Sylvia C., "A Comparative Study on the Frequency of Respiratory, Gastrointestinal, and Allergic Disorders between Bottle-Fed and Breast-Fed Infants from Birth to Twelve Weeks of Age" (1980). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 1614.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives