Navigation Links
Breastfeeding saved babies in 19th- Century Montreal
Date:12/20/2011

Montreal -- Breastfeeding increased infant survival rates in 19th -Century Montreal in two major ways, according to research from Concordia University and McGill University. Mother's milk protected vulnerable infants from food and water contaminated by fecal bacteria, while breastfeeding postponed the arrival of more siblings and that improved the health of mothers as well as their subsequent children.

Published in the journal Population Studies, using data gathered from Montreal's civil burial records and the 1881 Census, the study examined how poverty, poor sanitation, disease and various cultural factors affected death rates among newborns and children.

"Infant feeding practices, such as how long to breastfeed, at what age to introduce food supplements and in what season to wean, all influenced infant survival and all were subject to cultural tradition," says first author Patricia Thornton, a professor in the Concordia University Department of Geography, Planning and Environment.

Cultural groups that stopped breastfeeding earlier and especially before the summer when rising temperatures, dry weather and falling water table made contamination worst, were also more likely to have their next child more rapidly and less likely to limit their family size. This caused both the mother's and her next child's health to suffer.

"Poverty, high population density, room crowding and contagious diseases all affected death rates among children, yet these effects were nuanced by cultural identity," says co-author Sherry Olson, a professor in the McGill University Department of Geography.

The cultural factor

Studying 19th - Century health in Montreal was compelling for Thornton and Olson, since the city featured three well defined cultural groups: French Canadians, Irish Catholics and Protestants from Great Britain and Ireland. Each group had their own residential and occupational profile.

"Cultural factors eclipsed economic status as factors that influenced infant death rates," says Thornton. "Even though most French and Irish Catholics lived in similar working class conditions, the positive effects of later marriage and longer breastfeeding among Irish Catholics protected their infants and children, while French Canadians' infants were negatively impacted by early weaning."

According to the study, French Canadian women were weaning earlier, having more children and waiting less time between babies. What's more, French Canadian infants who survived their first year were more likely to suffer from bouts of intestinal diarrhea that could render them more vulnerable to common childhood illnesses.

Poverty and disease

Economic status, environmental conditions and neighbourhood characteristics all had an impact on newborns' and children's health and lifespan. High population density and crowded conditions helped the spread of contagious diseases and along with the presence of horses, and their impact on sanitation, all played a role in health, too.

"While French Canadian children bore a disproportionate share of urban deaths," says Thornton, "those who reached the age of 10 were as likely to survive as others and much more likely to survive than Irish Catholic men."

Why Montreal?

"The exceptional quality of records in Montreal provides a rare opportunity to study a North American metropolis in 1881, and to demonstrate the effects of poverty on infant and child mortality, as well as mortality over a lifetime," says Olson, noting, Montreal is one of few industrial cities where high-quality registration permits the examination of mortality with respect to a wide range of social and environmental factors.

"In the city of Montreal in 1881, the presence of three cultural communities from different economic backgrounds makes it possible to observe the way social settings affected survival over a lifetime," says Thornton.


'/>"/>
Contact: Fiona Downey
fiona.downey@concordia.ca
514-848-2424 x2518
Concordia University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Breastfeeding protects children against peptic ulcer bacterium
2. Is Fear of Being Caught Naked an Obstacle to Increasing Breastfeeding Rates?
3. Postpartum intervention/support prevents smoking relapse, extends breastfeeding duration
4. Breastfeeding -- added protection for cancer survivors?
5. 6-month drug regimen cuts HIV risk for breastfeeding infants, NIH study finds
6. Anti-HIV gel being evaluated in pregnant and breastfeeding women
7. Mothers with breastfeeding difficulties more likely to suffer postpartum depression
8. Can breastfeeding reduce pain in preterm infants?
9. Mothers are not reaching breastfeeding goals -- what needs to change?
10. Rate Regulation for Health Insurance: Obama Administration Should Look to CAs Model Law Which Has Saved Drivers $62 Billion Since 1988
11. Murder Likely Saved Doctor from a Future Showdown with a New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... TX (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... the United States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new ... the facility Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, ... at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health ... annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced ... feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a ... has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Texas (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... International Conference and Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant ... of the grants came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited to ... Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. Comfort ... quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments is ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  MedSource announced today ... its e-clinical software solution of choice.  This latest ... possible value to their clients by offering a ... preferred relationship establishes nowEDC as the EDC platform ... MedSource,s full-service clients.  "nowEDC has long been a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Any dentist who has made an ... current process. Many of them do not even offer this ... and high laboratory costs involved. And those who ARE able ... such a high cost that the majority of today,s patients ... Parsa Zadeh , founder of Dental Evolutions Inc. and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Ill. , June 23, 2016  In a startling report ... are failing their residents by lacking a comprehensive, proven plan to ... a definitive ranking of how states are tackling the worst ... to only four states – Kentucky , ... Vermont . Of the 28 failing states, three ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: