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Prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding of infants did not reduce growth by 12 months of age

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QUESTION: Is a breastfeeding promotion intervention shown to increase duration and exclusivity of breast feeding associated with lower infant weight and length?


Cluster randomised (cluster allocation concealed), unblinded, controlled trial with 12 months of follow up.


32 maternity hospitals and their affiliated clinics in Belarus.


Mother-infant pairs were enrolled if the mother intended to breast feed, had no illnesses contraindicating breast feeding, and had given birth to a healthy, singleton infant who had a gestational age ≥37 weeks, birth weight ≥2500 g, and a 5 minute Apgar score ≥5. 17 046 mother-infant pairs were enrolled, and 16 471 (97%) completed follow up. 31 sites were included in the analysis (1 site was omitted because data were falsified).


Study sites were allocated to …

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  • For correspondence: Dr M S Kramer, McGill University Faculty of Medicine, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. michael.kramer{at}

  • Sources of funding: Thrasher Research Fund; the National Health Research and Development Program (Health Canada); UNICEF.