Discontinuation of breast-feeding during episodes of diarrhoea in rural Bangldeshi children

John D. Clemens, Jeffrey R. Harris, David A. Sack, Md N. Huda, Shahriar Chowdhury, Md Ali, M. R. Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Discontinuation of breast-feeding during an episode of childhood diarrhoea is widely regarded as a common, high-risk practice in the developing world. We studied cessation of breast-feeding in a rural Bangladeshi population under comprehensive surveillance for medically treated diarrhoeal episodes. Among 2129 episodes in children aged under 36 months and breast-fed before the onset of diarrhoea, there were only 33 (2%) in whom breast-feeding had stopped before presentation for care. Children in whom breast-feeding had stopped (cases) differed little from those in whom it had not (controls) in respect to exclusive vs partial breast-feeding, age, gender, or several maternal characteristics (maternal age, education, and recent maternal diarrhoeal illness). In contrast, cases were more likely to have presented with clinically severe illness or to have died within 30 d of presentation (odds ratio=2·20, P < 0·05). We conclude that discontinuation of breast-feeding uring diarrhoea is an infrequent phenomenon in this population. However, the association of cessation of breast-feeding with severe clinical outcomes may be of considerable importance, particularly in countries where discontinuation of breast-feeding is more common.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)779-783
Number of pages5
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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