Objective: The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether the order of complementary feeding in relation to breast-feeding affects breast milk, semisolid, or total energy intake in infants.
Methods: The present study was designed as a randomized crossover trial. The study was conducted in a tertiary care hospital. The study participants were 25 healthy infants between the ages of 7 and 11 months who were exclusively breast-fed for at least 6 months and were now receiving complementary foods for at least 1 month in addition to breast-feeding. Infants were randomized to follow a sequence of either complementary feeding before breast-feeding (sequence A) or complementary feeding after breast-feeding (sequence B) for the first day (24 hours) of the study period using simple randomization. For the next day, the sequence was reversed for each child. All babies received 3 actively fed complementary food meals per day (morning, afternoon, and evening). A semisolid study diet was prepared in the hospital by cooking rice and pulse with oil using a standard method, ensuring the energy density of at least 0.6 kcal/g. The infants were allowed ad libitum breast-feeding during the observation period. Semisolid intake was directly measured and breast milk intake was quantified by test weighing method. Energy intake from complementary foods was calculated from the product of energy density of the diet served on that day and the total amount consumed. The total energy intake and energy intake from breast milk and complementary foods between the 2 sequences were compared.
Results: The mean (standard deviation) energy intake from breast milk during 12 hours of daytime by following sequence A (complementary feeding before breast-feeding) was 132.0 (67.4) kcal in comparison with 135.9 (56.2) kcal in sequence B, which was not statistically different (P = 0.83). The mean (standard deviation) energy consumed from semisolids in sequences A and B was also comparable (88.6 [75.5] kcal vs 85.5 [89.7] kcal; P = 0.58). The total energy intake during daytime in sequence A was 220.6 (96.2) kcal in comparison with 221.5 (94.0) kcal in sequence B, which was also comparable (P = 0.97). The results related to energy intake through breast milk and total energy intake were not different when insensible losses during feeding were adjusted in both groups.
Conclusions: Altering the sequence of complementary feeding in relation to breast-feeding does not affect total energy intake.