Infant Feeding and Growth

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It is well documented that the growth patterns of breast-fed and formula-fed infants differ significantly. In industrialised countries, formula-fed infants generally grow more rapidly than breast-fed infants. In developing countries, the opposite may be observed, due to high rates of infection associated with bottle-feeding in environments with poor sanitation. This paper will focus on the former situation, where infant growth is largely unconstrained by environmental factors. The questions to be addressed are: a) how do growth patterns differ between breast-fed and formula-fed infants, b) how does energy intake differ between breast-fed and formula-fed infants, c) what are the potential explanations for differences in energy intake and growth by feeding mode d) what are the long-term consequences of differences in early growth?