Breastfeeding is Associated with Decreased Hospitalization for Neonatal Fever

Hila Netzer-Tomkins, Lisa Rubin, Moshe Ephros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Breastfeeding is the recommended method for feeding newborns and infants. It confers significant health benefits upon both infant and mother and provides developmental, social, and economic advantages. Objective: This study explored possible correlations between breastfeeding and neonatal fever (NF). Materials and Methods: One hundred and forty infants hospitalized for fever during the first month of life (NF) were identified by retrospective chart review. These were matched with healthy infants born on the same day in the study hospital and who were not hospitalized in the first month of life. A structured telephone interview to determine breastfeeding practice was conducted with the parents of all study participants. Results: The prevalence of children who were formula fed or only partially breastfed was significantly higher among hospitalized children compared to healthy controls (66% versus 34%, respectively, p < 0.001). This association remained after adjusting for exposure to smoke, gender, and household crowding. Exposure to household smoke was also independently associated with hospitalization for NF. Conclusion: Increased rates of breastfeeding should result in fewer hospitalizations for NF, fewer laboratory investigations, less intravenous antibiotic therapy and its complications, and lower indirect expenses. This study demonstrates that exclusive or predominant breastfeeding, as opposed to formula or partial breastfeeding, of infants less than 1 month of age reduces the risk of NF-related hospitalization by over two-fold. Our data provide new evidence of the health benefits of breastfeeding. The retrospective nature of the study and possible recall bias are limitations of the study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-221
Number of pages4
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2016, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Health Policy
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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