The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding of infants for six months after birth. Breastmilk contains all the nutrients an infant needs in the first six months of life but is low in iron. This cross-sectional study sought to determine if the duration of exclusive breastfeeding is associated with anemia and iron deficiency in Kenyan infants. Researchers tested for hemoglobin, plasma ferritin, sTfR, and C-reactive protein in 134 infants, and collected data on age, gender, duration of exclusive breastfeeding, weaning foods, and level of income. Months of exclusive breastfeeding was significantly correlated with both hemoglobin (positively correlated) and sTfR (negatively correlated), suggesting that in infants in rural Kenya, longer exclusive breastfeeding is associated with better iron status.
Mary A Uyoga et al. Maternal & Child Nutrition (October, 2017).