Statistics in Medicine

A mixture model for sucking patterns of breast‐fed infants

Journal Article

  • Author(s): Amanda G. Chetwynd, Peter J. Diggle, Robert F. Drewett, Bridget Young
  • Article first published online: 04 Dec 1998
  • DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0258(19980228)17:4<395::AID-SIM778>3.0.CO;2-0
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Previous studies of sucking patterns have mainly been on bottle‐fed babies and have assumed that the babies' sucks occur within bursts separated by gaps of predetermined minimum length which is fixed over the feed. This study considers babies that are breast‐fed, a more complex and natural process than bottle‐feeding, and develops a more sophisticated model for the pattern of bursts and gaps which allows the parameters of the process to vary over the feed. We consider data from four breast feeds of each of 32 babies. We develop a two‐component mixture model based on an underlying Markov chain model for the switching between bursts and gaps. We use the model to provide summary statistics for each feed and give estimates of the normal range of each of the model's parameters. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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