Clinical Research on Effectiveness of Breast Milk

Advanced Nursing Research
PICOT Question:
How effective is breast milk compared to milk formula in the growth and development of infants between 0 and 6 months after they are born?
Infants between 0-6 months are vulnerable to illnesses, and mothers are advised to breastfeed them since breast milk has protective agents. However, different reasons, including the mother’s milk not being sufficient, may demand alternative feeding methods for the baby. Baby formula is among the most common supplements for breast milk (Yu et al., 2019). However, the two differ in nutrition and the impact on a baby’s growth.
This study aims to establish the effectiveness of breast milk compared to milk formula in the growth and development of infants between 0-6 months after birth. The best method for studying this topic is a quantitative longitudinal study. A longitudinal study is most suitable for this topic because it involves assessing changes in the same group over a period of time. The study will randomly select a sample of breastfeeding mothers and those giving their children formula milk exclusively. The children must be newborns to qualify for the study. The measures that will be evaluated for changes in the children include weight gain, height, developmental milestones, and the number of infections/illnesses.
The first-time baseline data will be collected, and mothers will be asked to record the frequency of feeding and the approximate amount of milk. This data will then be compared with the subsequent studies at three and six months. The changes recorded at three and six months will be used to determine the growth and development of infants in both groups. The longitudinal study design has been used by other researchers on the same topic of breastfeeding globally, such as Park & Lee (2018), and Choi et al. (2018). The advantage of a longitudinal study design is the ability to establish a cause-effect relationship that can inform better decision making among new mothers. Although it is expensive and time consuming, this method has higher validity of the data and flexibility of the number of variables that can be tracked.  
Choi, H. J., Kang, S. K., & Chung, M. R. (2018). The relationship between exclusive breastfeeding and infant development: A 6- and 12-month follow-up study. Early Human Development, 127, 42-47.
Park, S., & Lee, H. (2018). Exclusive breastfeeding and partial breastfeeding reduce the risk of overweight in childhood: A nationwide longitudinal study in Korea. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, 12(2), 222-228.
Yu, F., Cao, B., Wen, Z., Li, M., Chen, H., & Xie, G. (2019). Is donated breast milk better than formula for feeding very low birth weight infants? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, 16(6), 485-494.
Wu, Y., Lye, S., Dennis, C., & Briollais, L. (2020). Exclusive breastfeeding can attenuate body-mass-index increase among genetically susceptible children: A longitudinal study from the ALSPAC cohort. PLOS Genetics, 16(6), e1008790.

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