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This Note reviews literature on the effects of infant feeding patterns on child health and assesses the implications of recent research for public health policy in Malaysia and other developing countries. It discusses the nutritional consequences of infant feeding choices, recent studies of the immunological properties of breast milk, and the effects of breastfeeding on birthspacing. The Note argues that in all developing countries, policies to improve infant and child health will have to be adapted to local needs and opportunities. Preventable child deaths are the results of multiple causes; the efficacy of an attack on one cause alone, such as unsound feeding practices, cannot be assumed but must be evaluated from operational programs.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.