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August 1982

Frequency of Breast-feeding and Serum Bilirubin Concentration

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics (Drs De Carvalho and Klaus) and Maternity Nursing (Ms Merkatz), University Hospitals of Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland.

Am J Dis Child. 1982;136(8):737-738. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1982.03970440081024

• Recent studies suggest that the three- to four-hour feeding regimens followed in many maternity units for breast-feeding mothers may not be physiological and that human infants should be fed more frequently. To determine the effects of frequency and length of breast-feedings in the first days after birth, we studied 55 mothers and their infants. Infants who nursed on average more than eight times per 24 hours in the first three days of life had significantly lower serum bilirubin levels (6.5 v 9.3 mg/dL, P <.01) than those who fed less than eight times per 24 hours. The results of this investigation suggest that present breast-feeding policies that reduce or limit the number of feedings may interfere with the normal processes that eliminate bilirubin from the newborn infant.

(Am J Dis Child 1982;136:737-738)