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Archived Comments for: Feeding by numbers: an ethnographic study of how breastfeeding women understand their babies' weight charts

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  1. Growth references and breastfeeding

    Colin Binns, Curtin University of Technology

    8 January 2007

    This article is an important addition to the literature at a time when many countries are deciding whether to adopt the new WHO growth references. This paper shows that mothers and health professionals take note of growth charts and their perception of inadequacy may influence breastfeeding behaviour. For the first few months of life the new WHO reference is significantly above the older growth references before the classic flattening of the growht curve that occurs in breastfed infants occurs (1).

    While breastfeeding should be the normal way of feeding infants for at least 12 months, breastfeeding is most important in the first months of life. It is during the first three months of life that the new WHO growth reference is above the older NCHS reference and there is a risk that mothers will perceive that their infant is not growing fast enough and introduce supplementary feeds or even stop breastfeeding. It is important that mothers are reassured at this time that breastfeeding is providing adequate nutrition.

    1. Binns CW, Lee MK Will the new WHO growth references do more harm than good. (letter) The Lancet (2006) 368(9550) P1868-9

    Competing interests