, Volume 38, Issue 9, pp 836-843

Gastric electrical activity in normal neonates during the first year of life: effect of feeding with breast milk and formula

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Abstract

Background. To evaluate the effect of feeding with milk on the gastrointestinal tract, we studied gastric electrical activity in 27 healthy fullterm newborns (15 formula-fed newborns and 12 breast-fed newborns) during the first 6 months of life. Methods. Three-hour electrogastrography (EGG) recordings were performed, using portable equipment, from the third to fifth day after birth until 6 months, at 3-month intervals. The EGG parameters were calculated as raw and integrated data, the latter as AUC of the whole postprandial period. Results. There was a significant difference in the fasting 3-cpm activity between the two groups (repeated measures analysis of variance [ANOVA] P = 0.02; multiple comparisons: formula milk at birth vs breast milk at birth P < 0.001). In addition, a significant change in the percentage of postprandial bradygastria was found at 6 months, 1 month after weaning (repeated measures ANOVA, P = 0.01; multiple comparisons: formula milk at 6 months vs formula milk at 3 months, P = 0.03, formula milk at 6 months vs formula milk at birth, P = 0.02; breast milk at 6 months vs breast milk at 3 months, P = 0.03, breast milk at 6 months vs breast milk at birth P = 0.02). Conclusions. An adult-like gastric 3-cpm activity can be observed in breast-fed newborns in contrast to formula-fed ones, probably as an effect of colostrum. The high bradygastria percentage recorded at 6 months of life might be the result of an increased low-frequency component of the EGG signal because of the transition to a mixed diet.