Examining the relationship between infant feeding practices and child hyperactive/inattentive behaviours in a Canadian sample

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Turner, Sarah
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Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder diagnosed in childhood. It is largely accepted that ADHD is a product of gene-environment interactions and method of infant feeding has been proposed as a factor influencing the expression and/or severity of ADHD. The objectives of this study were to determine the relationship between infant feeding (i.e. formula feeding or breast feeding) and subsequent hyperactive/inattentive (H/I) behaviours and ADHD diagnosis and if the relationship between infant feeding and academic performance is moderated by H/I scale score. This study used data from the 2000/1, 2002/3, 2006/7 and 2008/9 cycles of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) (n= 3,895) to follow children longitudinally from the age of 0 to 1 years old to 6 to 7 years old. Infant feeding at 0 to 1 years old, and child H/I score, ADHD diagnosis and academic performance scores at 6 to 7 years old were reported by the biological mother. Multivariable logistic and linear regression were used to determine the relationship between infant feeding and H/I score, ADHD and academic performance adjusting for a range of sociodemographic, birth and home environment factors. Breastfeeding for more than 12 months was found to be significantly associated with decreased H/I scale scores in the most adjusted model (OR=0.3; 95% CI 0.2-0.8, p<0.01). Infant feeding was not associated with ADHD diagnosis and there was no moderating effect of the H/I score on the relationship between breastfeeding and academic performance. A small proportion of mothers breastfeed beyond one year in Canada and this study shows that there might be important child benefits incurred by breastfeeding for longer than 12 months.
Hyperactivity, ADHD, Infant feeding, Child health, Behaviour