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Associations of breastfeeding or formula feeding with infant anthropometry and body composition at 6 months.

Abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate the associations of mode of feeding with infant anthropometric and body composition variables at 6 months of age. We studied 259 infants whose exclusive mode of feeding (breast or formula) to 1 month was confirmed. Standard anthropometric characteristics of the infants (weight, length and weight-for-length z scores) were obtained, and body composition (total fat mass, fat-free mass, trunk fat mass and body fat percent) was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at 6 months (±12 days). General linear models were used to test the associations of mode of feeding with infant anthropometric and body composition variables at 6 months after adjustment for maternal and infant covariates. In this cohort of predominantly breastfed, White infants of highly educated mothers, fat-free mass was lower (P = .002), and trunk fat mass (P = .032) and body fat percent (P < .001) were greater in breastfed infants than in formula-fed infants at 6 months of age. After adjustment for covariates, total fat-free mass was significantly lower (β = -372 g, [SE = 125, P = .003]), and body fat percent was significantly greater (β = 3.30, [SE = 0.91, P < .001]) in breastfed infants than in formula-fed infants. No other significant associations were observed. These findings support those of previous studies reporting greater fat-free mass in formula-fed infants during the first 6 months of life. Additional research is warranted to explore whether differences in infant body composition by mode of feeding persist throughout the life course and to assess causality.

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Citation:

Tahir MJ, Ejima K, Li P, Demerath EW, Allison DB, Fields DA. (2020). Associations of breastfeeding or formula feeding with infant anthropometry and body composition at 6 months. Maternal & child nutrition