Spot the Red Herring: Breastfeeding, Fruitpuree, and Infant Autonomic Functioning-The Generation R Study

Bram Dierckx, Anne Tharner, Joke Tulen, Vincent Jaddoe, Bert Hofman, Frank Verhulst, Henning Tiemeier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Several studies have suggested that breastfeeding is related to infant autonomic functioning. The authors investigated whether this is a causal relation. In all, 444 mothers reported breast-feeding practices 2 mo postpartum. Infant autonomic functioning was assessed by heart rate variability at age 14 mo, after discontinuation of breastfeeding. The dose-dependent association between breast-feeding and infant autonomic functioning was tested with linear regression models adjusted for multiple confounders. The authors investigated the relation of fruitpuree consumption with infant autonomic functioning. Fruitpuree consumption has similar socioeconomic epiphenomena but is not related via the same causal mechanism to autonomic regulation as breastfeeding. Nonbreastfed infants had high sympathetic modulation [7.87 log (ms(2))/SD, 95% CI: 7.71-8.02], partially breastfed infants had intermediate sympathetic modulation [7.75 log (ms(2))/SD, 95% CI: 7.51-7.82], sympathetic modulation of exclusively breastfed infants was low [7.63 log (ms(2))/SD, 95% CI: 7.50-7.77]. However, this association could be explained by socioeconomic confounders. Furthermore, fruitpuree consumption was similarly associated with reduced infant sympathetic modulation. The association between breastfeeding practices and infant sympathetic modulation was accounted for by socioeconomic and environmental factors. We found a similar association between fruitpuree consumption and autonomic functioning, further suggesting that the association between breastfeeding and infant autonomic functioning is noncausal. (Pediatr Res 70: 417-422, 2011)
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)417-422
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Research programs

  • EMC MM-04-54-08-A
  • EMC NIHES-01-64-01
  • EMC NIHES-01-64-02
  • EMC NIHES-04-55-01
  • EMC OR-01-58-01

Cite this