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Breast Feeding, Fertility and Infant Mortality: An Analysis of some Early German Data

John Knodel and Etienne Van de Walle
Population Studies
Vol. 21, No. 2 (Sep., 1967), pp. 109-131
DOI: 10.2307/2172715
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2172715
Page Count: 23
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Breast Feeding, Fertility and Infant Mortality: An Analysis of some Early German Data
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Abstract

Concern about high infant mortality and its suspected connection with the lack of breast-feeding stimulated the collection of statistics about the frequency of breast-feeding in several German states during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Contrary to the assumption that universal and extended breast-feeding is customary among rural agricultural populations, large regional variations existed both in the proportion of children who were breast-fed and in the average duration of the period for which they were breast-fed. An analysis of these data in connection with statistics of infant mortality and marital fertility confirms the association between high infant mortality and the absence of breast-feeding. An hypothesis linking breast-feeding and fertility, however, is not confirmed. Marital fertility appears to be much more closely associated with infant mortality than with breast-feeding.

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