The Pediatric Forum |

Nutrition and Jaundice: Hold the Bottle, Keep the Breast

Gail S. Hertz, MD, IBCLC
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999;153(9):1002. doi:10.1001/archpedi.153.9.1002.
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Gourley et al1 are to be commended for bringing to light so clearly what physicians familiar with breastfeeding have been aware of for many years. That is, in the initial week of life there is no statistically significant difference in levels of physiologic jaundice between infants given standard infant formula and those who are breastfeeding effectively.2

Gourley et al report this finding with surprise—noting that this result must be due to infants who had higher bilirubin levels receiving treatment and being excluded from the study.1 This is likely so. The reason it has come as such a surprise is because the medical community for years has been unable to recognize which infants are breastfeeding effectively—that is, which infants are latched on correctly and effectively transferring milk.3 This is understandable, since traditionally physicians have received little in the way of formal education in the area of breastfeeding.35

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