Over 101 Reasons References

Please note this list is NOT exhaustive – ie the research we quote is not the only research available for each topic.

Not breastfeeding has been linked to increased risk to baby of:

  • Some childhood cancers.

Scientists have found a component in breastmilk called HAMLET can kill more than 40 types of cancers, including aggressive forms such as lung cancers & brain tumours. Crucially unlike any current cancer treatment, healthy cells are left unharmed.

In a study done by researchers at the University of Minnesota it was found that babies who were breast fed for at least one month had a 21% less chance of getting leukemia than formula fed babies. The risk was 30% for children breast fed for 6 months.

Another found non breastfed infants were 8 times more likely to develop lymphatic cancer.

A new analysis of 14 studies by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley has found babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of developing childhood leukaemia. The paper, published November in the journal Public Health Reports, found that breastfeeding was linked to lower risks of both Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), the most common of the childhood cancers, and Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia (AML).

A case-control study was used to assess whether inadequate exposure to the immunological benefits of human milk may affect infants’ response to infection and make them more susceptible to childhood malignancies. 201 Denver children with cancer diagnosed at 1·5-15 years of age were compared with 181 controls, who were selected to be similar to cases for age, sex, and area of residence. Infant feeding categories were: breast feeding (BF) >6 months; BF 6 months; and artificial feeding (AF, or exclusive non-human milk feeding). Compared with BF >6 months, a raised risk for total cancers was found in both BF 6 month and AF groups. This increased risk was largely due to an increased incidence of lymphoma.

• http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2004/10/26_breastfeeding.shtml
• Shu X-O, et al. “Breastfeeding and the risk of childhood acute leukaemia”. J Natl Cancer Inst 1999; 91: 1765-72
• Infant Feeding and Childhood Cancer The Lancet, Volume 332, Issue 8607, Pages 365-368
• “An Exploratory Study of Environmental and Medical Factors Potentially Related to Childhood Cancer.” Medical & Pediatric Oncology, 1991; 19(2):115-21

Sadly, as of now, researchers have not yet discovered any one factor to account for SIDS. However, there are a number of studies showing a link between lack of breastfeeding and SIDS.

In April 2008 The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) announced that formula fed infants were more than twice as likely to die from SIDS as breast fed infants. The study, a meta-analysis comprising the results of 27 different studies conducted since 1965, examined the relationship between breastfeeding and cot death in the developed world.

FSID Director, Joyce Epstein, says:

“There are so many reasons why breast is best, but there are none that can be stronger than potentially saving your child’s life. We encourage every new mum to breastfeed.”

A Swedish study has found that babies who were breastfed exclusively for less than 8 weeks had a 3 – 5 times greater risk of dying from SIDS than babies who were breastfed exclusively for four months

• Horn, RS et al “Comparison of evoked arousability in breast and formula fed infants.” 2004 Arch Dis Child.; 89(1):22-25
• Alm et al, “Breastfeeding and the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Scandinavia.” June 2002 Arch of Dis in Child. 86: 400-402.
• McVea, KL et al “The role of breastfeeding in sudden infant death syndrome.” J Hum Lact. 2000;16:13-20
• Fredrickson, DD et al., “Relationship between Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Breastfeeding Intensity and Duration.” Am. Journal of Diseases in Children, 1993: 147:460
• Ford RPK, et al .”Breastfeeding and the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.” International Journal of Diseases in Children, 1993, 22(5):885-890
• Taylor BJ, Mitchell EA, et al. “Breastfeeding and the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Int J. Epidemiol. 1993;22:885-890
• Scragg LK, Mitchell EA, Tonkin SL, et al. “Evaluation of the cot death prevention programme in South Auckland.” NZ Med J. 1993;106:8-10
http://www.fsid.org.uk/breastfeeding-news.html

  • Gross motor development delay

A study found the proportion of infants who mastered the developmental milestones increased with duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding. Infants who had never been breastfed were 50% more likely to have gross motor coordination delays than infants who had been breastfed exclusively for at least 4 months. Any breast milk also was positively related to development: infants who had never been breastfed were 30% more likely to have gross motor delays than infants who were given some breast milk for up to 2 months. Infants who were never breastfed had at least a 40% greater likelihood of fine motor delay than infants who were given breast milk for a prolonged period.

CONCLUSION. Our results suggest that the protective effect of breastfeeding on the attainment of gross motor milestones is attributable to some component(s) of breast milk or feature of breastfeeding and is not simply a product of advantaged social position, education, or parenting style, because control for these factors did not explain any of the observed association. In contrast, the association between breastfeeding and fine motor delay was explained by biological, socioeconomic, and psychosocial factors.

• PEDIATRICS Vol. 118 No. 3 September 2006, pp. e682-e689 (doi:10.1542/peds.2005-3141)

  • Breast cancer in later life.

Women who were formula-fed as infants have higher rates of breast cancer as adults. For both premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer, women who were breastfed as children, even if only for a short time, had a 25% lower risk of developing breast cancer than women who were bottle-fed as infants.

• Freudenheim, J. et al. 1994 “Exposure to breast milk in infancy and the risk of breast cancer”. Epidemiology 5:324-331

  • Health implications from bottles that contain Bisphenol A

As of March 2010, Leading British retailers were selling baby bottles in the UK that are banned in Canada and US.

BPA, a synthetically-produced hormonal substance which is added to plastics to make them tougher – can leach into milks. According to independent scientists, BPA may be an underlying cause of a collection of illnesses rapidly rising in the West, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, fertility problems and birth defects. One of a class of chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, BPA interferes with the release of the female hormone oestrogen, and its impact is greatest on disorders associated with metabolism, fertility and neural development.

Breast Cancer UK has launched a campaign calling for the removal of BPA from baby products. Clare Dimmer, chair of trustees at the charity, said:

“It’s amazingly cynical that, despite the serious health concerns surrounding infant BPA exposure, retailers and manufacturers still find it perfectly acceptable to continue to sell BPA stock here despite similar products already being withdrawn from sale in the US and Canada.” here

  • Reduced IQ

Human breast milk provides normal brain and cognitive development.

One study has found that the average I.Q. of 7 and 8 year old children who had been formula fed as babies was 10 points lower than their breastfed peers. All of the children involved had been born prematurely and tube fed the human milk, indicating that the milk itself, not the act of breastfeeding, caused this difference in I.Q. level.

Another study to support this statement was done in New Zealand. Here an 18 year longitudinal study of over 1,000 children found that those who were bottlefed as infants had both lower intelligence and reduced academic achievement than children who were breastfed.

• HMortensen EL et al (2002). “The association between duration of breastfeeding and adult intelligence” JAMA 287: 2365-71
• Anderson JW et al (1999) “Breastfeeding and cognitive development: a meta-analysis” Am J Clin Nutr 70: 525-35
• Horwood and Fergusson, “Breastfeeding and Later Cognitive and Academic Outcomes” Jan 1998 Pediatrics Vol. 101, No. 1
• Lucas A., “Breast Milk and Subsequent Intelligence Quotient in Children Born Preterm”. Lancet 1992;339:261-62
• Wang YS, Wu SY. “The effect of exclusive breastfeeding on development and incidence of infection in infants.” J Hum Lactation. 1996; 12:27-30

  • Sickness and diarrhoea bugs including: Gastroenteritis, E-Coli, and E -Sakazakii (which can lead to Meningitis).

According to a study of 17,046 mother and infant pairs in Belarus, breastfed infants had a significant reduction in risk of gastro-intestinal infection.

Numerous studies have shown that diarroheal infections are much more common in formula-fed babies. This is true throughout the world, despite a common misconception that only people living in areas with contaminated water need be concerned with this issue. Such infections are more likely to be fatal in developing nations, but all formula-fed infants are at greater risk than their breastfed peers.

Breastmilk substitute powder can also be contaminated with the above as it is not sterile – see point regarding preparation.

Breastmilk also contains constituents such as immunoglobulins, lactoferrin and lysozyme that all work to fight the above.

• Betran et al; “Ecological Study of effect of breastfeeding on infant mortality in Latin America.” Br Med J 2001323:1-5
• Dewey KG, Heinig MJ, Nommsen-Rivers LA. “Differences in morbidity between breast-fed and formula-fed infants.” Pediatr. 1995;126:696-702
• Beaudry M, Dufour R, Marcoux S. “Relation Between infant feeding and infections during the first six months of life.” J Pediatr. 1995; 126:191-197
• Howie PW, Forsyth JS, Ogston SA, et al. “Protective effect of breast feeding against infection.” Br Med J. 1990;300:11-16
• Kramer et al “Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial” JAMA 2001; 285: 413-420

  • Crohn’s Disease (a chronic inflammatory bowel disease).

Cohn’s Disease is a chronic intestinal disorder. It is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation extending into the deeper layers of the intestinal wall. It is difficult to treat, but several studies have shown that non breastfed infants are at increased risk of the disease in later life.

• Rigas A, Rigas B, Blassman M, et al. “Breast-feeding and maternal smoking in the etiology of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in childhood.” Ann Epidemiol. 1993;3387-392
• Koletzko S, Sherman P, Corey M, et al. “Role of infant feeding practices in development of Crohn’s disease in childhood.” Br Med J. 1989;298:1617-1618
• Klement E et al (2004). Breastfeeding and risk of inflammatory bowel disease: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 80: 1342-52.

  • Both type 1 and 2 Diabetes.

There are many studies linking development of insulin dependant Type I diabetes (formerly referred to as “juvenile diabetes”) to lack of breastfeeding. The results of a study from Finland suggest that the introduction of dairy products at an early age, and high milk consumption during childhood increase the level of cow’s milk antibodies in the children’s systems. This factor is associated with an increased risk of insulin dependent diabetes.

Now a new study has indicated that not breastfeeding also increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes. This sort of diabetes was formerly referred to as “adult onset” diabetes, but has been mysteriously occurring in more and more youngsters.

• Young, T.K. et al. Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2002; 156(7): 651-55
• Gerstein HC. “Cow’s milk exposure and type 1 diabetes mellitus”. Diabetes Care. 1994;17:13-19
• Virtanen et al: “Diet, Cow’s milk protein antibodies and the risk of IDDM in Finnish children.” Childhood Diabetes in Finland Study Group. Diabetologia, Apr 1994, 37(4):381-7
• Virtanen SM, Rasanen L, Aro A, et al. “Infant feeding in Finnish children <7 yr of age with newly diagnosed IDDM” Diabetes Care, 1991;14:415-417

  • Adverse outcomes both in the short and long term for premature infants.

It is known that when babies are born preterm or are sick, the use of breastmilk substitutes is associated with increased adverse outcomes both in the short and long term.

“Milk produced by women who deliver prematurely differs from that produced after a full-term pregnancy. Specifically, during the first month after parturition, pre-term milk maintains a composition similar to that of colostrum..”

Researchers tracked 1,035 extremely low-birthweight infants born at 15 hospitals. About three-quarters of the babies received at least some breast milk in the hospital. One-quarter received only formula. Even when the researchers took education and income into account, the formula fed infants scored lower on tests of mental development when they were 18 months old. The more breast milk the babies consumed, the better they did on the tests. The societal implications of a 5-point potential difference (one third of an SD) in IQ are substantial.

UNICEF also reports that moderately premature infants leave hospital up to two weeks sooner when breastfed

Breastfed babies have less chance of developing Necrotizing Enterocolitis – This disease occurs most commonly in premature or sick newborns and can be fatal. An Australian study has estimated that 83% of NEC cases may be attributed to lack of breastfeeding

A recent Israeli study confirmed that the more formula milk premature babies receive, the less responsive they are. Infants receiving substantial amounts of breast milk showed better neurobehavioral profiles – in particular motor maturity. “These infants were also more alert during social interactions, and their mothers provided more affectionate touch. In addition to its nutritional value, breast milk may be related to improved maternal mood and interactive behaviours, thereby indirectly contributing to development in premature infants.”

• Eidelman et al, Dev Psychobiol, 2003 Sept; 43(2): 109-19
• Hamosh, Margit, PhD, Georgetown University Medical Center “Breast-feeding: Unraveling the Mysteries of Mother’s Milk”.
• Beneficial Effects of Breast Milk in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on the Developmental Outcome of Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants at 18 Months of Age
• Betty R. Vohr, Brenda B. Poindexter, Anna M. Dusick, Leslie T. McKinley, Linda L. Wright, John C. Langer, W. Kenneth Poole for the NICHD Neonatal Research Network
• Pediatrics 2006; 118: e115-e123.
• Altman M, Vanpee M, Cnattingius S et al (2009) Moderately preterm infants and determinants of length of hospital stay. Arch. Dis. Child. Fetal Neonatal Ed; 94: F414-F418
• Renfrew M, Craig D, Dyson L et al (2009) Breastfeeding promotion for infants in neonatal units: a systematic review and economic analysis. Health Technol Assess 13(40).
• Updegrove, K “Necrotizing Enteroclolitis: The evidence for use of human milk in prevention and treatment.” J Hum Lact 2004; 20: 335-339
• Drane, D. “Breastfeeding and formula feeding: a preliminary economic analysis” Breastfeed Rev 1997; 5:7-15
• Convert RF, Barman N, Comanico RS, et al. “Prior enteral nutrition with human milk protects against intestinal perforation in infants who develop necrotizing enterocolitis.” Pediatr Res. 1995; 37:305A. Abstract
• Lucas A, Cole TJ. “Breast milk and neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis.” Lancet. 1990; 336:519-1523

  • Low birth weight babies display reduced cognitive development

In 771 low birth weight infants, babies whose mothers chose to provide breast milk had an 8 point advantage in mean Bayley’s mental developmental index over infants of mothers choosing not to do so.

• Morley, R., “Mothers Choice to provide Breast Milk and Developmental Outcome”. Arch Dis Child, 1988

  • Allergies.

“Artificially fed infants have more allergies than breastfed infants. This is especially important if your family has a history of allergies. Many babies are allergic to cow’s milk formulas. Some babies are even allergic to soy formulas. Breastfeeding protects against other allergies, such as atopic eczema, food allergies, and respiratory allergies.”

• Wiggins, PK , Dettwyler, KA” Breastfeeding: A Mother’s Gift”, July 1, 1998 ed., Chapter 1, L.A. Publishing Co.
• Saarinen UM, Kajossari M. “Breastfeeding as prophylaxis against atopic disease: prospective follow-up study until 17 years old.” Lancet. 1995;346:1065-1069

  • Asthma.

A number of studies have linked lack of breastfeeding to asthma. According to one study, six year old children were more likely to have asthma if they had not been exclusively breastfed for at least 4 months.

• Oddy W.H., et al BMJ 1999;319:815-819

  • Eczema.

A number of studies have indicated that breastfed babies are less likely to develop eczema – an itchy skin rash

• Kramer, M et al “Promotion of breastfeeding Intervention Trial” JAMA 2001; 285: 413-420
• Saarinen UM, Kajosaari M “Breastfeeding as prophylaxis against atopic disease: prospective follow-up study until 17 years of age.” Lancet. 1995; 346:1065-69.

  • Otitis Media (ear infections).

Research has shown that ear infections are up to 3-4 times more prevalent in formula-fed infants.

A new study of 315 infants who were fed breast milk from a bottle shows that these infants had fewer ear infections than infants who got formula from a bottle.

Conclusion: it’s not just the mechanics of breast feeding but something in the breast milk itself that helps protect against ear infections, says the medical journal Infectious Diseases in Children.

Researchers from the State University of New York’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences revealed how exclusively breastfed children have a decreased risk of otitis media – More than 300 infants were included the study, which found peak incidence of acute otitis media and otitis media effusion (when pus is discharged from the inner ear) was inversely related to rates of breastfeeding beyond three months of age.

Infants who where exclusively formula fed had a twofold elevated risk of first episodes of inner ear infections compared to infants who were exclusively breastfed for at least six months. The researchers found that formula-feeding was the most significant predictor of inner ear infections, although the amount of time spent at day care was also a risk factor

A 1990 study on the risk factors for recurrent acute otitis media and respiratory infection in infancy found that short durations of breastfeeding is a significant risk of recurrent middle ear infections.

• Alho, O., “Risk Factors for Recurrent Acute Otitis Media and Respiratory Infection in Infancy”. INT J PED OTORHINOLARYNGOLOGY 1990; 19:151-61
• Aniansson G, Alm B, Andersson B, et al. “A prospective cohort study on breast-feeding and otitis media in Swedish infants”. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1994; 13:183-188
• Duncan, B et al “Exclusive breastfeeding for at least four months protects against Otitis Media”, Pediatrics 91(1993): 897-872

  • Infections.

Kaiser Permanente, one of the largest HMOs in the U.S. has conducted internal research to determine the value of the company lactation support program. This research found that formula fed babies had many health disadvantages compared to breastfed babies, including worse overall health.

These differences in health outcomes can be explained, in part, by specific and innate immune factors present in human milk which provide specific protection against pathogens in the mother’s environment. In addition, innate immune factors in milk provide protection against infection.

1385 children in Spain were followed during the first year of life. Full breastfeeding, hospital admission and other relevant variables were recorded. After estimating for attributable risk, it was found that 30% of hospital admissions would have been avoided for each additional month of full breastfeeding. It is estimated that 100% of full breastfeeding among 4 month old babies in an industrialised country would avoid 56% of hospital admissions in babies who are younger than 1 year.

Read more about how breastmilk can protect against infection here and here.

• Paricio Talayero J, Lizan-Garcia M, et al. Full breastfeeding and hospitalization as a result of infections in the first year of life. Pediatrics 2006; 118 (1): e92-e99
• (Kaiser Permanente: Internal research to determine benefits of sponsoring an official lactation program – 1995)
• Hamosh M. Bioactive factors in human milk. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2001;48:69–86.
• Nathavitharana KA, Catty D, McNeish AS. IgA antibodies in human milk: epidemiological markers of previous infections? Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 1994;71:F192–F197.

  • Being hospitalised with Pneumonia or Bronchiolitis.

Studies have shown non breastfed infants are more than twice as likely to be hospitalized with pneumonia or bronchiolitis. According to a recent meta-analysis of studies from developed countries, the risk of severe respiratory tract illness resulting in hospitalization is more than tripled among infants who are not breastfed, compared with those who are exclusively breastfed for four months.

A 2006 study concluded: We found that babies who received an additional two months of full breastfeeding were over four times less likely to contract pneumonia.

PEDIATRICS Vol. 117 No. 2 February 2006, pp. 425-432 (doi:10.1542/peds.2004-2283)
• Full Breastfeeding Duration and Associated Decrease in Respiratory Tract Infection in US Children. Caroline J. Chantry, MDa, Cynthia R. Howard, MD, MPHb and Peggy Auinger, MSb,c
• Oddy, WH et al “Breast feeding and respiratory morbidity in infancy: a birth cohort study” Archives of Disease in Childhood 2003;88:224-228
• Galton Bachrach et al (2003) Breastfeeding and the Risk of Hospitalization for Respiratory Disease in Infancy” Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 157:237-243
• Grover M et al “Effect of human milk prostaglandins and lactoferrin on respiratory syncytial virus and rotavirus” Acta Paediatr. 1997; 86: 315-316
• Cunningham, Allan S. MD “Breastfeeding, Bottle-feeding and Illness – An Annotated Bibliography”, 1996.
• Wright AL, Holberg CH, Taussig LM, et al. “Relationship of infant feeding to recurrent wheezing at age 6 years.” Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149:758-763
• Piscane A, et al “Breastfeeding and acute lower respiratory infections” Acta Paediatr. 1994; 83: 714-718

  • Respiratory tract infections.

Breastfeeding effectively protects nurslings from many life-threatening respiratory infection including those caused by rotaviruses. Studies have shown non breastfed infants have five times more lower respiratory tract infections compared to formula-fed infants. According to a recent meta-analysis of studies from developed countries, the risk of severe respiratory tract illness resulting in hospitalization is more than tripled among infants who are not breastfed, compared with those who are exclusively breastfed for four months.

A 2006 study concluded: Babies fully breastfed for six months are less likely to suffer from respiratory illnesses in their first two years than babies fully breastfed for only four months.

PEDIATRICS Vol. 117 No. 2 February 2006, pp. 425-432 (doi:10.1542/peds.2004-2283)
• Full Breastfeeding Duration and Associated Decrease in Respiratory Tract Infection in US Children. Caroline J. Chantry, MDa, Cynthia R. Howard, MD, MPHb and Peggy Auinger, MSb,c
• Oddy, WH et al “Breast feeding and respiratory morbidity in infancy: a birth cohort study” Archives of Disease in Childhood 2003;88:224-228
• Galton Bachrach et al (2003) Breastfeeding and the Risk of Hospitalization for Respiratory Disease in Infancy” Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 157:237-243
• Grover M et al “Effect of human milk prostaglandins and lactoferrin on respiratory syncytial virus and rotavirus” Acta Paediatr. 1997; 86: 315-316
• Cunningham, Allan S. MD “Breastfeeding, Bottle-feeding and Illness – An Annotated Bibliography”, 1996.
• Wright AL, Holberg CH, Taussig LM, et al. “Relationship of infant feeding to recurrent wheezing at age 6 years.” Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149:758-763
• Piscane A, et al “Breastfeeding and acute lower respiratory infections” Acta Paediatr. 1994; 83: 714-718

  • Bacterial Meningitis.

Meningitis is an infection which causes the inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a type of bacteria called Hemophilus influenzae type b (HiB). Breastfeeding is protective against infections caused by these bacteria, and the meningitis which may result.

• Cochi SL, Fleming DW, Hightower AW, et al. “Primary invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b disease: a population-based assessment of risk factors.” J Pediatr. 1986;108:997-896
• Istre GR, Conner JS, Broome CV, et al. “Risk factors for primary invasive Haemophilus influenzae disease: increased risk from day care attendance and school-aged household members.” J Pediatr. 1985;106:190-198

  • Some vision defects.

In a study in Bangladesh, breastfeeding was a protective factor for night blindness among preschool-aged children in both rural and urban areas. Breast milk is generally the main, if not the only source, of vitamin A during a child’s first 24 months of life (or for the duration of breastfeeding).

• Bloem, M. et al. “The role of universal distribution of vitamin A capsules in combating vitamin A deficiency in Bangladesh.: Am J Epidemiol 1995; 142(8): 843-55
• Birch E, et al. “Breastfeeding and optimal visual development.” J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus 1993;30:33-8

  • Osteoporosis.

According to many studies, both non breastfeeding mothers and their children will be at increased risk for development of this disease. One study found that the odds that a woman with osteoporosis did not breastfeed her baby was 4 times higher than for a control woman. In another study, Dr. Alan Lucas, MRC Childhood Nutrition Research Center of London, found that 8-year-olds who were fed formula rather than breast fed as infants, had less developed bone mineralization than those fed breast milk.

“Bone mineral density decreases during lactation, but after weaning showed higher bone mineral density than those who did not breastfeed.”

• Kalwart HJ and Specker BL “Bone mineral loss during lactation and recovery after weaning.” Obstet. Gynecol. 1995; 86:26-32
• Blaauw, R. et al. “Risk factors for development of osteoporosis in a South African population.” SAMJ 1994; 84:328-32
• Melton LJ, Bryant SC, Wahner HW, et al. “Influence of breastfeeding and other reproductive factors on bone mass later in life.” Osteoporos Int. 1993;22:684-691
• Cumming RG, Klineberg RJ. “Breastfeeding and other reproductive factors and the risk of hip fractures in elderly woman.” Int J Epidemiol 1993;22:684-691

  • Delayed maturation of intestinal development; increasing risks from pathogens and other potentially harmful agents.

The cells of the mature intestinal lining are tightly packed together, but the gastrointestinal system of a newborn baby is immature. It is like a sieve, allowing bacteria, viruses, toxins and potential allergens to pass through. This intestinal permeability decreases more slowly in formula-fed babies. Breast milk contains a special protein called imunoglobulin A (IgA), which acts like a protective sealant in the digestive tract, making it relatively impermeable to unwanted pathogens and other potentially harmful agents; plus hormones (such as cortisol) and smaller proteins (including epidermal growth factor, nerve growth factor, insulin-like growth factor and somatomedin C) which promote the growth of the cells lining baby’s intestines as well as other surface cells, such as the cells of the skin

Indeed, animal studies have demonstrated that postnatal development of the intestine occurs slower in animals fed milk not from their own species. And animals who do not receive colostrum, containing the highest concentrations of epidermal growth factor, mature even more slowly.”

• “http://www.promom.org/bf_info/sci_am.htm “>Newman, J, MD, FRCPC “How Breast milk Protects Newborns”
• Shulman et al “Early feeding, feeding tolerance and lactase activity in preterm infants.” J Pediatr 1998; 133:645-649
• Catassi et al “Intestinal permeability changes coloring the first month; effect of natural versus artificial feeding.” J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1995; 21: 383-386

• The Breastfeeding Book, Copyright 2000, M. Sears, R.N. and Wm. Sears, M.D.. Little Brown and Co.
• http://www.iwantmymum.com/site/articles/exclusive-breastfeeding-virgin-gut/154

  • Obesity.

A study of 32200 Scottish 3 year old children found that the incidence of obesity was significantly lower among those who had been breastfed, after adjusting for socioeconomic status, birthweight and gender. Another study, this one of Czech children, found that the even older children (6 -14) who had been breastfed were less at risk for overweight/obesity. Additionally, a German study found that 4.5% of formula fed children are obese, while only 0.8% of breastfed children have this condition

In a study published in the journal Epidemiology, Harvard researchers found that even within a single family, children who were breastfed for a longer time were slightly less likely to become overweight than their siblings who were breastfed for a shorter period.

The difference within families was similar to that found in the study population as a whole, where each 4-month increase in breastfeeding was linked to a 6 percent dip in the risk of becoming overweight by adolescence.

• Epidemiology. 17(1):112-114, January 2006
• Armstrong, J et al, “Breastfeeding and lowering the risk of childhood obesity.” Lancet 2002, 349: 2003-4
• Toschke, A.M. et al, “Overweight and obesity in 6 to 14-year-old Czech children in 1991: protective effect of breast-feeding”, J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2002 Dec; 141(6):764-9
• von Kries, R et al, “Breastfeeding and obesity: cross sectional study.” BMJ 1999; 319:147-150 (July 17)

  • Pulmonary distress whilst feeding.

Bottle-fed babies are at increased risk of cardiopulmonary disturbances, including prolonged airway closure and obstructed respiratory breaths due to repeated swallowing. According to one study, infants can experience oxygen saturation below 90% when bottle feeding. Nine of 50 healthy term infants in one study experienced bradycardia during bottle feeding. Six of these episodes were preceded by apnea, three showed hypopnea (marked reduction in ventilation) and one had certral apnea (no respiratory efforts).

• Koenig HS, Davies Am, Thach BT. “Coordination of breathing, sucking and swallowing during bottle feedings in human infants.” J Appl Physiol 69: 1629: 1623-1629, 1990.
• Matthew O, Clark ML, Ponske MH. Apnea, bradycardia, and cyanosis during oral feeding in term neonates.” J Pediatr 106:857, 1985

  • Ulcerative colitis (intestinal disorder).

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes ulceration and inflammation of the inner lining of the colon and rectum. A number of studies have shown that non breastfed infants are more likely to develop this disease.

•Rigas A, Rigas B, Blassman M, et al. “Breast-feeding and maternal smoking in the etiology of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in childhood.” Ann Epidemiol. 1993;3387-392

  • Jaundice.

Babies are born with a sticky tar-like substance called meconium in their intestines. Colostrum, or early milk, is uniquely designed to help move this substance through the infant’s body which reduces the risks of jaundice.

• Koutras, A.K., “Fecal Secretory Immunoglobulin A in Breast Milk vs. Formula Feeding in Early Infancy”. J. Ped Gastro Nutr 1989.

Nursing is good for a baby’s tooth and jaw development. Babies drinking from the human breast have to use as much as 60 times more energy to get food than do those drinking from a bottle. Obviously, a nursing baby’s jaws are receiving much more exercise as she pulls her mother’s milk into her mouth. This constant gentle pulling assists the growth of well-formed muscles, jaws and straight, healthy teeth. Among breastfed infants, the longer the duration of nursing, the less chance of dental malocclusion.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Milan and published in Archives of Diseases in Childhood of 1033 children, found posterior cross-bite was more frequent in bottle fed children. Children with non-nutritive sucking activity and being bottle fed more than doubled the risk of posterior cross-bite. Not breastfeeding seems to have a negative effect on development of posterior cross-bite in deciduous dentition.

Bryan Palmer DDS has also studied feeding method and oral development extensively. His opinion is that bottles and pacifiers have the potential to changes facial features and can cause all manner of health issues from sleep apnea to long face syndrome.

• The Complete Book Of Breastfeeding M.S. Eiger. MD, S. Wendkos Olds, Copyright 1972, 1987 Comstock, Inc., Workman Publishing Co., Inc., 708 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
• Labbok, M.H. “Does Breastfeeding Protect against Malocclusion? An Analysis of the 1981 Child Health Supplement to the National Health Interview Survey” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 1987
• Archives of Diseases in Childhood 2004; 89: 1121-1123
• http://www.brianpalmerdds.com/bfing_import.htm

  • Tooth decay.

Breast milk contains bacteria fighting cells that help kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Bottle-fed babies “are at increased risk for baby bottle caries, a destructive dental condition which occurs when a baby is put to bed with a bottle containing formula, milk, juice or other fluids high in carbohydrates. Extensive dental repair may be required at a cost of thousands of dollars.”

• Loesche WJ, “Nutrition and dental decay in infants.” Am J Clin Nutr 41; 423-435, 1985

  • Delayed speech development.

Tongue thrust problems often develop among bottle-fed babies as they try to slow down the flow of milk coming from an artificial nipple. This can lead to speech problems later on. “Early weaning may lead to the interruption of proper oral motor development provoking alterations to the posture and strength of the speech organs and harming the functions of chewing, swallowing, breathing, and articulation of speech sounds. The lack of physiological sucking on the breast may interfere in the oral motor development, possibly causing malocclusion, oral respiration and oral motor disorders.”

Neiva et al, J Pediatr (Rio J) 2003;79(1):07-12

  • Constipation and digestion problems.

Formula companies are constantly adjusting these proportions looking for the best composition. The reality is that a mother’s milk composition changes from feeding to feeding depending on the needs of her child. No formula can do that! According to the American Dietetic Association:

”human milk provides optimal nutrition to the infant with its dynamic composition and the appropriate balance of nutrients provided in easily digestible and bioavailable forms.”

In recent years nutritionists have voiced concern about overly high levels of protein in the Western diet. Cow’s milk contains about twice as much protein as human milk. Formula-fed babies often receive more protein than they need (much of it in the form of the less digestible casein).

The impact of early nutrition on subsequent growth and disease is described as programming. What happens to a child before the age of two can be seen to influence their growth, weight and health for many years afterwards. Infants fed a high-protein diet also show increased levels of growth stimulating hormones.

• The Complete Book Of Breastfeeding M.S. Eiger. MD, S. Wendkos Olds, Copyright 1999, Workman Publishing Co., Inc., 708 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
• Protein – too much of a good thing? http://www.sugar-bureau.co.uk/ca_protein.pdf (full references in article)

• J Am Diet Assoc 2001; 101: 1213

  • High cholesterol in later life.

A recent British study found that breastfeeding seems to be associated with lower levels of damaging cholesterol in adulthood. The authors concluded that breastfeeding may have long-term benefits for cardiovascular health.

• Owen CG et al (2002) “Infant Feeding and Blood Cholesterol: A Study in Adolescents and a Systemic Review” Pediatrics 110: 597-608

  • Spit up and reflux.

Breastfed newborns demonstrate gastroesophageal reflux (spit-up) episodes of significantly shorter duration that formula fed newborns

A 1996 study found that 41.8% of cases of gastroesophageal reflux (GER) was associated with, and probably caused by, an allergy to cow’s milk. It was concluded that all babies who present with GER should be screened for cow’s milk allergy.

• Heacock, H.J. “Influence of Breast vs. Formula Milk in Physiologic Gastroesophageal Reflux in Healthy Newborn Infants” Jour. Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 1992 January; 14(1): 41-6
• “Gastroesophageal reflux and cow’s milk allergy in infants: a prospective study” (Iacono G et al., J Allergy Clin Immunology (1996) 97:3 822-827)

  • Inguinal hernia.

Breastfeeding is protective against inguinal hernias. For unknown reasons breastfed babies experience significantly fewer of them. Human milk contains gonadotropin releasing hormone, which may affect the development of a baby boy’s testicles.

• Pisacane, A. “Breast-feeding and inguinal hernia” Journal of Pediatrics 1995: Vol 127, No. 1, pp 109-111

  • Urinary tract infections.

Breastfed babies have fewer urinary tract infections than their bottle fed peers. According to one study, infants who were exclusively bottle fed were more than five times as likely to develop urinary tract infections compared with those that were breastfed

• Pisacane A, et al “Breastfeeding and Urinary Tract Infection” J Pediatr 1992 120: 87-89

  • Delayed hand-to-eye coordination.

It isn’t completely clear why, but breastfed infants are able to see and manipulate objects quicker than their formula fed peers. This is one of the many benefits of breastfeeding that are still being explored.

• Baumgartner, C., “Psychomotor and Social Development of Breast Fed and Bottle Fed babies During their First year of Life”. Acta Paediatrica Hungarica 1984; 25(4): 409-17

  • Higher blood pressure in childhood & later life.

A 2004 study of 4763 British children showed that 7.5 years later, those who were not breastfed as infants had higher blood pressure compared with those who were breastfed. In another new study from the U.K., a small but important reduction in adult diastolic blood pressure is associated with having been breastfed as an infant.

• Martin RM et al (2004). “Does Breast-Feeding in Infancy Lower Blood Pressure in Childhood?” The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Circulation 109
• Martin RM et al (2005). “Breastfeeding in Infancy and Blood Pressure in Later Life: Systematic Review and Meta Analysis.” American Journal of Epidemiology 2005 161 (1): 15-26

  • Atherosclerosis (plaque build up inside arteries).

Not breastfeeding may be associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis in later life according to a cohort study based on a 65-year follow-up of the Carnegie (Boyd Orr) survey of diet and health in prewar Britain.

• Martin RM et al (2005). Breastfeeding and Atherosclerosis: Intima-Media Thickness and Plaques at 65-Year Follow-Up of the Boyd Orr Cohort. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biolog 25:1482.

  • Coeliac Disease (gluten intolerance).

A meta-analysis of six case-controlled studies found a 52% reduction in coeliac disease in babies breastfed at the time of gluten introduction compared with those not breastfed.

The study also revealed longer breastfeeding reduced coeliac disease risk; researchers suggested continued breastfeeding during gluten introduction might limit the amount of gluten the child was exposed to and therefore decrease symptoms.

• Archives of Disease in Childhood 2006.

  • Mental health problems in later life.

“Breastfeeding for a longer duration appears to have significant benefits for the onward mental health of the child into adolescence,”

Dr. Wendy H. Oddy of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in West Perth and her colleagues report in The Journal of Pediatrics 2010.

The researchers found children who were breastfed for shorter periods of time had worse behaviour. Differences were seen for internalising behavior, in which negativity is directed inwards, for example depression; and in externalising behaviors, such as aggression.

For each additional month a child was breastfed, behavior improved.

Breastfeeding for six months or longer remained positively associated with the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents after the investigators adjusted for social, economic and psychological factors as well as early life events.

They conclude:

“Interventions aimed at increasing breastfeeding duration could be of long-term benefit for child and adolescent mental health.”

Another study has found that babies that are breastfed for longer than six months have significantly better mental health in childhood. Researchers found growing evidence that bioactive factors in breast milk played an important role in the rapid early brain development that occurs in the first year of life.

Even adjusting for socio-economic status/their education/their happiness and family functioning, children who were breastfed for less than six months compared to six months or longer had a 52% increased risk of a mental health problem at 2 years of age, a 55% increased risk at age 6, at age 8 the increased risk was 61% while at age 10 the increased risk was 37%. The analysis is based on a scientifically recognised checklist of child behaviour that assessed the study children’s behaviour at 2, 6, 8 and 10 years of age.

Researchers concluded that children who were breastfed had particularly lower rates of delinquent, aggressive and anti-social behaviour, and overall were less depressed, anxious or withdrawn.

• SOURCE: The Journal of Pediatrics, online December 14, 2009.
• ScienceDaily (Oct. 28, 2006)

Not breastfeeding has been linked to increased risk to mother of:

  • Breast cancer.

Many studies have shown that women who breastfeed have lower risks of developing breast cancer. Cancer Research UK states: Breastfeeding can protect you against developing breast cancer. We don’t know exactly how breastfeeding is protective but we know that it definitely is.

A large Cancer Research UK study in 2002 compared breastfeeding history in women who had breast cancer with women who hadn’t. It was a very large study, involving the histories of 150,000 women. The longer the women had breastfed during their lifetime, the less likely they were to get breast cancer.

According to the researchers, this was a very striking finding. They made sure that the women’s age, menopausal status, ethnic origin, number of births and their age at the birth of their first child were all taken into account. Breast feeding still lowered breast cancer risk by 4.3% for every year of feeding. There is also a 7% reduction in risk of breast cancer for each child born.

Another multi-centre trial in the USA included more than 14000 pre- and post-menopausal women. It concluded that breast cancer risk was 22% lower among pre-menopausal women who had ever breastfed than among those who had not.

The authors of the study estimated that if all women with children breastfed for a total of 4-12 months, breast cancer among pre-menopausal women could be reduced by 11%. In addition, they suggested that if women with children breastfed for a lifetime total of 24 months or longer, the incidence of this form of breast cancer might be reduced by almost 25%.

Lastly a study in September 2009 found Breast-feeding baby for even 3 months reduced risk by 59 percent for women who have a previously diagnosed sister or mother.

• Newcomb PA et al. (1994). Lactation and a reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer. New Engl J Med 330: 81-87
• Jernstorm, H et al “Breast-feeding and the risk of breast cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.” J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004;96:1094-1098
• Lee, SY et al “Effect of lifetime lactation on breast cancer risk: a Korean women’s cohort study.” Int J Cancer. 2003;105:390-393
• Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer (2002). “Breast cancer and breastfeeding: collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 47 epidemiological studies in 30 countries, including 50,302 women with breast cancer and 96,973 women without the disease.” Lancet 360: 187-95
• Zheng et al, “Lactation Reduces Breast Cancer Risk in Shandong Province, China” Am. J. Epidemiol. Dec. 2000, 152 (12): 1129
• Newcomb PA, Storer BE, Longnecker MP, et al. “Lactation and a reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer.” N Engl J Med. 1994;330:81-87
• Alison M. Stuebe, MD, MSc, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Archives of Internal Medicine.

  • Post partum haemorrhage.

Nursing her baby causes the mother’s body to release oxytocin, which stimulates contractions to help shrink the uterus back to pre-pregnancy size while expelling the placenta. These contractions also shut off the maternal blood vessels that formerly fed the baby and discourage excessive bleeding. Women who choose not to breastfeed must be given synthetic oxytocin to insure against hemorrhaging.

• Chua S, et al. “Influence of breastfeeding and nipple stimulation on postpartum uterine activity.” Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1994; 101:804-805

  • Ovarian cancer.

There was an approximate 20% reduced risk of ovarian cancer in parous women who had ever breastfed compared to those who had never breastfed in one collaborative study.

Another study found an effect only in certain histological subtypes of ovarian cancer.

The only prospective study to examine this issue showed a significant reduction in risk for women breastfeeding for 18 months or longer.

• Whittemore, A., et al., Characteristics relating to ovarian cancer risk: Collaborative analysis of 12 US case-control studies. American Journal of Epidemiology, 1992. 136 (10): p. 1184-1203.
• Riman, T., et al., Risk factors for invasive epithelial ovarian cancer: results from a Swedish case-control study. Am J Epidemiol, 2002. 156(4): p. 363-73.
• Siskind, V., et al., Breastfeeding, menopause, and epithelial ovarian cancer. Epidemiology, 1997. 8(2): p. 188-91.
• Danforth, K.N., et al., Breastfeeding and risk of ovarian cancer in two prospective cohorts. Cancer Causes Control, 2007. 18(5): p. 517-23.

  • Endometrial cancer.

A World Health Organization study has shown that the longer a woman breastfeeds, the less likely she is to get Endometrial Cancer. Other studies echo this result.

• Rosenblatt, KA et al “Prolonged lactation and endometrial cancer” Int. J. Epidemiol. 1995; 24:499-503
• Salazar-Martinez E, et al. Reproductive factors of ovarian and endometrial cancer risk in a high fertility population in Mexico. Cancer Res 1999Aug1;59(5):3658-62.
• Newcomb PA, Trentham-Dietz A. Breast feeding practices in relation to endometrial cancer risk, USA. Cancer Causes Control 2000 Aug;11(7):663-7

  • Rheumatoid arthritis.

May 2008 – Swedish researchers announced that “Breastfeeding halves rheumatoid arthritis risk”.

“Mothers who breastfed for 13 months or more were half as likely to get the painful joint condition as women who never breastfed”

said Mitra Pikwer and colleagues at the Malmo University Hospital in Sweden, who led the study.

“Although it is difficult to separate the effect of breast feeding from that of childbirth, our data suggest that rheumatoid arthritis is inversely associated with long-term breastfeeding, rather than with the number of children born,”

An earlier University of North Carolina/Duke University study had indicated breastfed children were only 40% as likely to develop juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

• Ann Rheum Dis 2009;68:526-530 doi:10.1136/ard.2007.084707
• Jacobsson LTH et al “Perinatal Characteristics and risk of rheumatoid arthritis” BMJ 2003; 326: 1068-1069
• “Mother’s Milk: An Ounce of Prevention?” Arthritis Today May-June 1994

  • Osteoporosis.

According to many studies, both non breastfeeding mothers and their children will be at increased risk for development of this disease. One study found that the odds that a woman with osteoporosis did not breastfeed her baby was 4 times higher than for a control woman. In another study, Dr. Alan Lucas, MRC Childhood Nutrition Research Center of London, found that 8-year-olds who were fed formula rather than breast fed as infants, had less developed bone mineralization than those fed breast milk.

“Bone mineral density decreases during lactation, but after weaning showed higher bone mineral density than those who did not breastfeed.”

• Kalwart HJ and Specker BL “Bone mineral loss during lactation and recovery after weaning.” Obstet. Gynecol. 1995; 86:26-32
• Blaauw, R. et al. “Risk factors for development of osteoporosis in a South African population.” SAMJ 1994; 84:328-32
• Melton LJ, Bryant SC, Wahner HW, et al. “Influence of breastfeeding and other reproductive factors on bone mass later in life.” Osteoporos Int. 1993;22:684-691
• Cumming RG, Klineberg RJ. “Breastfeeding and other reproductive factors and the risk of hip fractures in elderly woman.” Int J Epidemiol 1993;22:684-691

  • Cardiovascular problems.

A study Dec 2009 found Breast-feeding, even for just a couple of months could significantly lower a woman’s risk of metabolic syndrome – a dangerous cluster of heart disease risk factors years later. And, the longer a woman breast-fed, the better it was for her later health. Breast-feeding for longer than nine months dropped the risk of metabolic syndrome by 86 percent in women with gestational diabetes. Women without gestational diabetes saw a 56 percent reduction in their risk of metabolic syndrome, according to the study.

“We found a very strong protective effect for lactation, and longer duration is associated with a greater risk reduction,”

• Erica Gunderson, Ph.D., epidemiologist and research scientist, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, Oakland, Calif.; Jacob Warman, M.D., chief of endocrinology, Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York City; Dec. 3, 2009, Diabetes, online

  • Postnatal Depression.

Breastfeeding has an important role to play in mothers’ postpartum mental health. Groër and Davis noted that “breastfeeding confers some psychoneuroimmunological benefits to mothers” in part because of its impact on stress. In an earlier review, Groër, Davis and Hemphill noted that although women experience many stressors in the postpartum period, breastfeeding protects them by inducing calm, lessening maternal reactivity to stressors, and increasing nurturing behaviour. The PNI approach is relevant to lactation specialists because it demonstrates that breastfeeding can protect mothers’ mental health and is worth preserving whenever possible.

Opting not to breastfeed precludes and/or brings all of the processes involved in lactation to a halt. For most of human evolution the absence or early cessation of breastfeeding would have been occasioned by miscarriage, loss, or death of a child. We contend, therefore, that at the level of her basic biology a mother’s decision to bottle feed unknowingly simulates child loss

- University of Albany evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup.

There is at least correlational evidence to support this evolutionary claim, too. For example, in a paper presented earlier this year, Gallup and his colleagues reported their findings that, among a sample of 50 mothers recruited from local pediatric clinics and who had given birth in the previous 4-6 months, those who bottle fed scored significantly higher on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale than breastfeeders did. This effect panned out even after controlling for the mother’s age, education, income and relationship status with her current partner.

Women who do not exclusively breastfeed also get less sleep, get less restorative sleep, and are more likely to suffer depression. (see below)

• Groër MW, Davis MW: Cytokines, infections, stress, and dysphoric moods in breastfeeders and formula feeders. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs 2006, 35:599-607
• Groër MW, Davis MW, Hemphill J: Postpartum stress: Current concepts and the possible protective role of breastfeeding. J Obstet Gyncol Neonatal Nurs 2002, 31:411-417.
• Bottle feeding simulates child loss: Postpartum depression and evolutionary medicine
• Medical Hypotheses, Volume 74, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 174-176
• Gordon G. Gallup Jr., R. Nathan Pipitone, Kelly J. Carrone and Kevin L. Leadholm

  • Type 2 Diabetes.

The study of more than 157,000 mothers found that for each year a woman breast-fed her baby, she was 15 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes in the next 15 years. It didn’t matter how a woman tallied up the time; feeding one baby for 12 months or two babies for six months each worked equally well.

• Vol. 294 No. 20, November 23/30, 2005, Duration of Lactation and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes, JAMA. 2005;294:2601-2610.

  • Anemia (iron deficiency).

Since many exclusively breastfeeding mothers do not begin to menstruate for a year or longer their iron stores are not depleted by monthly bleeding during this time.

• Lawrence & Lawrence 1999

• Institute of Medicine 1991

What else?

Powdered infant milk is not sterile and recent studies have found potentially life threatening bacteria can contaminate the product. Therefore new guidelines are that ALL bottles should be made and used immediately; using water that has been heated to above 70 degrees and allowed to cool for no more than 30 minutes.
In lower temperatures and longer periods of time, bacteria can thrive – leading to sickness and diarrhoea bugs, Gastroenteritis, E-Coli and E -sakazakii (which can lead to Meningitis)

These conditions are only common in formula fed infants.

Furthermore March 2010 – Researchers studies samples from 30 infants in California that were infected with Botulism, and took samples from market purchased powdered infant formula. 7 of 9 of the samples of formula were shown to contain multiple strains of Botulism. Botulism is also suspected to be linked to some infant deaths that are officially classified as SIDS.

  • Breastfeeding satisfies baby’s emotional needs.

Breastfeeding stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin in the mother’s body. “It is now well established that oxytocin promotes the development of maternal behavior and also bonding between mother and offspring.”

• Uvnas-Moberg, Eriksson: “Breastfeeding: physiological, endocrine and behavioral adaptations caused by oxytocin and local neurogenic activity in the nipple and mammary gland.” Acta Paediatrica, 1996 May, 85(5):525-30

  • Pre-term breastmilk is specially tailored to best suit the needs of premature infants.

“Milk produced by women who deliver prematurely differs from that produced after a full-term pregnancy. Specifically, during the first month after parturition, pre-term milk maintains a composition similar to that of colostrum..”

• Hamosh, Margit, PhD, Georgetown University Medical Center “Breast-feeding: Unraveling the Mysteries of Mother’s Milk”.
• Beneficial Effects of Breast Milk in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on the Developmental Outcome of Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants at 18 Months of Age
• Betty R. Vohr, Brenda B. Poindexter, Anna M. Dusick, Leslie T. McKinley, Linda L. Wright, John C. Langer, W. Kenneth Poole for the NICHD Neonatal Research Network
• Pediatrics 2006; 118: e115-e123.
• Altman M, Vanpee M, Cnattingius S et al (2009) Moderately preterm infants and determinants of length of hospital stay. Arch. Dis. Child. Fetal Neonatal Ed; 94: F414-F418
• Renfrew M, Craig D, Dyson L et al (2009) Breastfeeding promotion for infants in neonatal units: a systematic review and economic analysis. Health Technol Assess 13(40).

  • The World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend it as ”an unequalled way of providing ideal food for healthy growth and development”.

“Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. There after, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Exclusive breastfeeding from birth is possible except for a few medical conditions, and unrestricted exclusive breastfeeding results in ample milk production”.

• “Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding”, World Health Organization in collaboration with UNICEF

  • Breastfeeding baby helps decrease insulin requirements in diabetic mothers.

Reduction in insulin dose postpartum was significantly greater in those who were breastfeeding than those who were bottle feeding

• Davies, H.A., “Insulin Requirements of Diabetic Women who Breast Feed.” British Medical Journal, 1989

  • Breastfeeding may help stabilise the progress of maternal endometriosis.

There is much clinical research showing that pregnancy like hormonal drug treatments, usually suppresses the symptoms of endometriosis. Breastfeeding frequently delays the return of the menstrual cycle and so can also delay the return of symptoms after baby is born.

• Annie Havard, “Breastfeeding – a cure for endometriosis”, Allaiter ajourd’hui, Quarterly Bulletin of LLL France, No. 25, Oct. – Dec. 1995

  • Breastmilk protects against hemophilus b. bacteria as much as 5-10 years later.

Hemophilus influenzae type b is a bacteria which can grow in the respiratory tract with no symptoms, but may spread into the throat, ears or blood and cause grave illness. Non breastfed babies are much more vulnerable to such an overgrowth. . Interestingly, a 1999 Swedish study found that even 5 – 10 years later, children who had been breastfed were much less likely to contract hemophilus b.

• Silfverdal et al, “Protective effects of breastfeeding: an ecological study of haemophilus influenzae (HI) meningitis and breastfeeding in a Swedish population.” Int J Epidem 1999; 28:152-6
• Cochi SL, Fleming DW, Hightower AW, et al. “Primary invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b disease: a population-based assessment of risk factors.” J Pediatr. 1986;108:997-896
• Istre GR, Conner JS, Broome CV, et al. “Risk factors for primary invasive Haemophilus influenzae disease: increased risk from day care attendance and school-aged household members.” J Pediatr. 1985;106:190-198

  • Non breastfed babies require longer pre- and post-surgical fasting, as breastmilk is considered a “clear fluid” like water.

Breastfeeding is considered a clear fluid, unlike formula which is dairy. Breastfeeding may continue until three hours before arrival time at the hospital in healthy children having elective surgery.

Children’s Hospital Boston: Dietary Guidelines for Surgery. This is widely considered to be among the best anaesthesia departments in the US.  From the guidelines: Plan the last breastfeeding so that the feeding is finished three hours before the time of surgery. You may give clear liquids up to three hours before the surgery. Clear liquids include breast milk, infant electrolyte solution (such as Pedialyte®), apple juice, and sugar water.

• Schreiner, M.S. “Preoperative and Postoperative fasting in children.” Ped Clinics N Amer 41 (1); 111-20 (1994)

  • Not breastfeeding has been linked with increased sick days for employed parents.

Since breastfed babies are statistically healthier than their formula fed peers, the parents of breastfed babies spend less time out of work taking care of sick children.

Breastfeeding also reduces stress levels of the mother, another common reason for time away from work.

• (Kaiser Permanente: Internal research to determine benefits of sponsoring an official lactation program – 1995)

  • Breastfed infants show better serum and secretory responses to oral and parenteral vaccines.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ National Women’s Health Information Center, breastfed babies respond better to immunizations against polio, tetanus, diphtheria, and Haemophilus influenzae than formula-fed babies.

• Han-Zoric, M., “Antibody responses to parenteral and oral vaccines are impaired by conventional and low protein formulas as compared to breastfeeding.” Acta Paediatr Scand 1990; 79:1137-42

  • Breastfeeding contributes to optimal child spacing, many exclusively breastfeeding women do not ovulate for the 6 months or so following the birth of a baby.

First of all, please know that it is certainly possible to get pregnant while you are still breastfeeding. However, many breastfeeding women do not ovulate for the first 6 months or so following the birth of a new baby. This is true only for those who are exclusively breastfeeding 8-12 times per day (no supplements or solid food), are nightfeeding, have not yet gotten their periods back following childbirth (and had no blood loss/spotting) and uses no pacifiers or bottles.

• Kennedy KI, Visness CM. “Contraceptive efficacy of lactational amenorrhoea.” Lancet. 1992; 339:227-230
• Labbock MH, Colie C. “Puerperium and breast-feeding.” Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 1992; 4:818-825

  • Breastfeeding in the first 6 months can be used as contraception.  Called the LAM contraception method (exclusively breastfeeding with other criteria) it is around 97% effective.

This method of birth control is known as “LAM” and is around 97% effective.

  • After the early weeks, breastfeeding is easier than making substitutes.

After the initial start up period, breastfeeding is very easy. All you have to do is raise your shirt and let the little one latch on. No shopping for formula, bottles, and other supplies. No mixing, heating, refrigerating and cleaning up of formula. No running out or forgetting something vital! If you sleep with your baby, or sleep the baby next to your bed, you can forget about all the disturbing nighttime rituals associated with formula use. All you have to do is roll over, let the baby latch on, and go back to sleep!

Breastmilk is free; alternatives costs upward of £800 per year in the UK. Not including bottles, teats, sterilisers etc.

It presently costs upward of £800 per year to formula feed an infant in the UK. There is not just the milk to consider, but bottles, teats, sterilisers and warmers.  The added calories a nursing mother must take in are a negligible expense, and nursing clothes are optional.

  • Not breastfeeding costs the government (and taxpayers) millions of pounds.

The U.S. government spends more than $2,665,715 a year to provide formula for the children of non-breastfeeding mothers participating in the WIC supplemental food program. Of course, this doesn’t take into consideration the additional costs of caring for those infants who are statistically much more likely to get sick. According to research 2009; not bresatfeeding costs the US £13 billion per year.

In the UK, more mothers breastfeeding would bring health gains to mothers and babies and savings for the NHS in both the short and longer term. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of a range of diseases including gastroenteritis in babies, neonatal necrotising enterocolitis (in pre-term infants), child onset diabetes mellitus and middle ear and respiratory infections.

” The main cost saving to the NHS comes immediately in the form of reduced hospital admissions for gastroenteritis. The rate of admissions in babies bottle fed or breastfed for only a short period is just over 5 times more than in babies breastfed for 13 weeks or more. At a cost per inpatient stay of about £1200, the saving associated with each one percentage point increase in breastfeeding in the average health district is about £4,000 – about a half a million pounds in England and Wales. For Gastroenteritis ALONE – If all babies were breastfed this would be equivalent to almost £300,000 a year for the average district or £35 million for the country as a whole.”

• The Burden of Suboptimal Breastfeeding in the United States: A Pediatric Cost Analysis PEDIATRICS (doi:10.1542/peds.2009-1616)
• Riordan, J “The cost of not breastfeeding: a commentary” J Hum Lact 1997; 13(2) 93-97
• http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;115/2/496 – A.A.P. Breastfeeding Policy Statement: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk Pediatrics Vol. 115 No. 2 February 2005
• http://www.babyfeedinglawgroup.org.uk/resources/whychangelaw.html

  • Non breastfed babies require more doctor visits.

Since non breastfed babies are statistically less healthy, they see the doctor more often.

Thirteen general practices in Glasgow were involved in a study of 935 babies. During their first six months, researchers investigated GP consultation rates and multi-level modeswere used to analyse the number of each consultations of reach baby during its first 26 weeks.

Results showed the strongest predictor of consultation rates was previus consultations, particularly during the preceeding week. Breastfed babies visited their GP 15% less often than formula-fed babies and those with older mothers also consulted less often.

• (Kaiser Permanente: Internal research to determine benefits of sponsoring an official lactation program – 1995)
• British Journal General Practice 2004 Aug: 54(505):598-603

  • Breastmilk always has the right proportions of fat, carbohydrates and protein; changing each feed.

”human milk provides optimal nutrition to the infant with its dynamic composition and the appropriate balance of nutrients provided in easily digestible and bioavailable forms.”

• J Am Diet Assoc 2001; 101: 1213

  • Breastmilk acts like a natural tranquiliser for baby.

Mother’s milk contains chemicals and hormones that relax and calm baby and seem to work like “knock-out drops” for tired babies. Even if baby doesn’t fall asleep, he/she will certainly calm down and become more agreeable. If you choose to breastfeed into toddlerhood, you may find that the “terrible twos” never materialise. As you don’t have to worry about over feeding breastfed babies, you can use this handy tool any time your baby needs settling!

Mother’s milk contains chemicals and hormones that relax and calm baby and seem to work like “knock-out drops” for tired babies. Even if baby doesn’t fall asleep, he/she will certainly calm down and become more agreeable. If you choose to breastfeed into toddlerhood, you may find that the “terrible twos” never materialize. As you don’t have to worry about over feeding breastfed babies, you can use this handy tool any time your baby needs settling!

  • Breastfeeding acts like a natural tranquiliser for mum.

Nursing mothers often joke about falling asleep on the job. The sleep inducing qualities of nursing a baby are remarkable. Even pumping at work can be a great way to calm down and get refocused during a stressful day. All this relaxation is caused by the hormone oxytocin, which is released each time a mother breastfeeds. It decreases blood pressure and calms the mother.

• Pediatrics, Feb 2009; 123: 483 – 493
• The Breastfeeding Book, Copyright 2000, M. Sears, R.N. and Wm. Sears, M.D.. Little Brown and Co.

Not breastfeeding is linked with increased rates of maternal abuse.

Interestingly, studies have also found that there were far fewer incidences of domestic violence and sexual abuse in breastfeeding families. One study found “Mothers who didn’t breastfeed were almost four times more likely to be reported for maternal neglect than mothers who breastfed for four of more months.”

“For mothers who breastfed for less than four months, the risk was about 2.3 times.”

• Does Breastfeeding Protect Against Substantiated Child Abuse and Neglect? A 15-Year Cohort Study

• Acheston, L, “Family violence and breastfeeding” Arch. Fam. Med. 1995, 4:650-652

  • Formula smells and tastes unpleasant.

Try it!

  • Breastfeeding exposes your baby to different tastes and flavours pre starting solids.

Breastfed babies are more likely to be healthy because they develop a taste for fruit and vegetables from their mother’s milk.  Research shows breast milk is flavoured by the foods a woman eats.   Babies exposed to such a variety of tastes may be more adventurous eaters when weaned.  Researcher Helene Hausner said: ‘It’s not like if the mother eats apple pie the baby thinks “mmmm, apple pie”, but it may be more accepting of the flavour of other foods.

The Copenhagen University researchers gave nursing mothers capsules containing a variety of flavours and then tracked how long it took the compounds to appear in their breast milk.

While the flavour of banana barely lingered an hour after being eaten, the minty zing of menthol could be picked up for eight hours.  Levels of the other two flavours – liquorice and caraway spice – reached their peak after two hours.  The amount of flavour transferred varied from woman to woman but all had disappeared from the milk within eight hours, according to a report in the journal New Scientist.

Preliminary results from a second study by the Danish team suggest that breastfed infants might be more receptive to new flavours than bottle-fed ones

Clin Nutr. 2010 Feb ;29 (1):141-8 19962799

  • Non Breastfed babies are more likely to die before their third birthday.

Not only are non breastfed babies less likely to contract life-threatening diseases, they are less able to combat any illnesses that may develop.

Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Chicago, surveyed nearly 9000 infant deaths throughout America. They found that breastfed babies were 20% less likely to die between one and twelve months than those who were not. The longer babies were breastfed, the lower the risk of early death.

• Pediatrics (2004) American Academy of Pediatrics
• Van Den Bogaard, C. “Relationship Between Breast Feeding in Early Childhood and Morbidity in a general Population.”Fan Med, 1991; 23:510-515

  • Breastmilk is always the right temperature; no risk of burning, no waiting with a fussing baby.
  • Breastmilk substitutes are not environmentally friendly; wrappers, tins, bottle sand transportation.

“If every child in America were bottle-fed, almost 86,000 tons of tin would be needed to produce 550 million cans for one year’s worth of formula. If every mother in Great Britain breastfed, 3000 tons of paper (used for formula labels) would be saved in a year. But formula is not the only problem. Bottles and nipples require plastic, glass, rubber, and silicon; production of these materials can be resource-intensive and often leads to end-products that are not-recyclable. All these products use natural resources, cause pollution in their manufacture and distribution and create trash in their packaging, promotion, and disposal.”

• “Mother Nature Loves Breastmilk” D. Michels, Pub. various periodicals, available on Internet at http://members.aol.com/diamichels/greenbm.htm

  • Breastfeeding means no bottles to wash and carry.
  • No need to refrigerate;  breastmilk is always fresh.
  • Breastmilk provides natural pain relief for baby.

Breast milk actually contains chemicals that suppress pain (endorphins) and is recognised as a painkiller by the British Medical Journal. Aside from this, the comfort a baby derives from being held close and suckling is remarkable. Many a bruise or scrape has been soothed away almost instantly by a few moments of nursing. If you choose to have your child vaccinated, it is a good idea to nurse immediately after he/she receives a vaccination. This soothes the hurt, as well as enhancing the vaccine’s effectiveness.

“Breast feeding effectively reduces response to pain during minor invasive procedure in term neonates”

“Melatonin found in breastmilk stimulates beta-endorphin release.”

• BMJ 2003; 326 : 13 doi: 10.1136/bmj.326.7379.13

  • Human milk is the perfect food for a sick infant.

When a formula fed baby gets a gastrointestinal ailment they are usually put on an artificial electrolyte solution because formula is too hard for them to digest. Breast milk, however is considered a clear fluid, is easily digested and soothing to the intestines – so there is no need for artificial and expensive electrolyte solutions. If a baby gets a respiratory illness, formula may cause even more mucus. In contrast, breast milk contains antibodies to these ailments, as well as being highly digestible and not contributing to excess mucous formation.

  • Non breastfeeding or supplementing mothers get LESS sleep.

Several studies between 2004 and 2009, showed that exclusive breastfeeding mothers got more sleep. Three sets of parents have been studied: those that were exclusively breastfeeding, those that were breastfeeding AND formula feeding, and those who were feeding only formula.

Although, the exclusively breastfeeding mothers were awakened more times throughout the night than the other mothers, they still got an average of 40-45 minutes MORE sleep each night.

Not only did the breastfeeding mothers get more sleep, they got BETTER SLEEP. The studies showed that REM (rapid eye movement) sleep was similar within the groups, but the difference in slow-wave sleep (SWS) was remarkable. People who get less SWS report more day-time fatigue. Studies also show that those who get less SWS are more likely to suffer depression. To be clear, the “breastfeeding mothers got an average of 182 minutes of SWS. Women in the control group had an average of 86 minutes. And the exclusively bottle-feeding women had an average of 63 minutes.”

In short, women who do not exclusively breastfeed get less sleep, get less restorative sleep, and are more likely to suffer depression.

Doan and colleagues noted the following.

“Using supplementation as a coping strategy for minimizing sleep loss can actually be detrimental because of its impact on prolactin hormone production and secretion. Maintenance of breastfeeding as well as deep restorative sleep stages may be greatly compromised for new mothers who cope with infant feedings by supplementing in an effort to get more sleep time.  In sum, advising women to avoid nighttime breastfeeding to lessen their risk of depression is not medically sound. In fact, if women follow this advice, it may actually increase their risk of depression.”

• www.ibreastfeeding.com/content/newsletter/nighttime-breastfeeding-and-maternal-mental-health

  • Not breastfeeding means more equipment to maintain and store.
  • Breastmilk has never been recalled due to manufacturing or contamination problems.

Formula has been, sometimes after causing injury or death. There have been 22 “significant” recalls of formula including 7 potentially life threatening situations.  Recalls due to insects or less “significant” issues are often not widely reported.

In 2008, 700 tonnes were recalled in China, when at least 13 infants died and at least 50 more suffered Kidney problems; after formula was found to be contaminated with contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical used in plastic.

• Babbit, V, “FDA Recalls Baby Formula, 1998?, Breastfeeding.com, Inc.

  • Breastfeeding means no need to worry about which brand is better.

Each artificial breast milk formula is different from all its competitors, but none of them come close to duplicating the real thing. Some experts believe there are as many as 1000 constituents of breastmilk that cannot be reproduced. It can be very stressful for formula feeding mothers to try to determine which brand is the best of the lot. No matter which formula is used “it is increasingly apparent that infant formula can never duplicate human milk. Human milk contains living cells, hormones, active enzymes, stem cells, immunoglobulins and compounds with unique structures that cannot be replicated in infant formula.”

• http://www.theecologist.org/investigations/health/268712/suck_on_this.html
• (Quoted from FDA pediatric-nutrition researchers at Abbott Laboratories, writing in March, 1994 issue of Endocrine Regulations.)

  • Breastfeeding means no need to worry about adding contaminated water.

Even in regions of the world where bacterial contamination is not an issue, water can contain dangerous elements like arsenic, lead, flouride and aluminum. These contaminants can become concentrated if water is boiled to sterilise it before being added to formula.

  • Breastfed babies have great skin; scientists are currently studying using a constituent of breastmilk to treat acne.

You don’t have to refer to the many studies showing that breastfed babies have fewer rashes. Check out the skin of a breastfed baby and see what you think.

A science student at the University of California recently discovered that the lauric acid in breast milk reduces irritation and spots, and has developed an acne cream that is undergoing clinical trials.  The cream uses tiny gold particles to carry lauric acid into pores where its anti-microbial properties fight bacteria.  As breast milk is difficult to source, researchers are working to develop new sources for its healthgiving compounds.

The compounds lysozyme and lactoferrin are harvested for research from a specific variety of rice, and the milk from genetically engineered goats and cows.   Though some of these beneficial compounds are found in milk from other animals, others occur only in human milk, and the nonhuman versions are less potent when given to humans.

  • Lack of breastfeeding may be associated with increased risk of multiple sclerosis in later life.

Although thought to be multifactorial in origin, and without a clearly defined etiology, lack of breastfeeding does appear to be associated with an increased incidence of multiple sclerosis.

• Pisacana A, et al “Breastfeedig and multiple sclerosis” BMJ 1994; 308: 1411-2

  • Breastfed babies display better social development.

The psychomotor and social development of breastfed babies clearly differs from that of bottle fed ones and leads at the age of 12 months to significant advantages of the psychomotor and social capabilities.

• Baumgartner, C.,”Psychomotor and Social Development of Breast Fed and Bottle Fed babies During their First year of Life”. Acta Paediatrica Hungarica, 1984

  • Breastfeeding mothers spend less money on menstrual supplies & nappies.
  • Breastfeeding is a self confidence booster for mum.

There is nothing more amazing than looking at a plump six month old baby and knowing that the only nutrition this happy little creature has received has come from your own body.

  • Breast milk may help combat eye infections.

There is evidence that breast milk could help ease the symptoms of conjunctivitis, however: in vitro tests show that colostrum, and mature breast milk, can potentially combat some of the bacteria known to cause neonatal eye infections.

Another study provides evidence that it does seem to be an effective treatment for eye infections in young babies. At a hospital in Spain, babies diagnosed with neonatal sticky eye were treated either with antibiotics or breast milk. Babies treated with breast milk generally recovered much faster: 26 out of 45 (57%) of those receiving milk had recovered after 30 days, compared with 3 out of 20 (15%) of those receiving antibiotics.

• J Trop Pediatr. 1996 Dec;42(6):327-9.
• J Reprod Immunol. 1998 Jul;38(2):155-67.
• J Trop Pediatr. 2007 Feb;53(1):68-9.

  • Breastfeeding means no worrying about the latest ingredient discovered to be missing from formula.

There is no formula that can duplicate human milk because, as the FDA recognized in a recent statement “…the exact chemical makeup of breast milk is still unknown.” “Formula-fed infants depend on products which can be quite different from each other, but which are continually being found deficient in essential nutrients… These nutrients are then added, usually after damage has occurred in infants or overwhelming market pressure forces the issue.”

• M. Walker, R.N., International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, The Journal Of Human Lactation, Sept 1993

  • Breastmilk substitutes makes for BAD nappy changes.

The bowel movements of breastfed babies smell mild and inoffensive. The same can not be said about those of formula fed babies. Try changing a few formula fed babies if you are uncertain about wanting to try breastfeeding!

  • Breastfed babies smell fantastic.

No scientific study needed here. There is something almost magical about the scent of your own breastfed baby, whether you’re the mother or father involved. Try it, you’ll like it!

  • It’s what breasts are for – we are mammals because we make milk for our young.
  • Not breastfeeding may increase risk of  schizophrenia.  Although Maternal schizophrenia is the strongest risk factor, no or early cessation (<2 weeks) of breastfeeding is also significantly related to later schizophrenia.

Breastfed babies may have a slightly lower risk of later schizophrenia according to the results of a Danish study of 6841 individuals. Maternal schizophrenia was the strongest risk factor but no or early cessation (<2 weeks) of breastfeeding was also significantly related to later schizophrenia.

• Sørensen HJ et al (2005). Breastfeeding and risk of schizophrenia in the Copenhagen Perinatal Cohort. Acta Psychiatr Scand 2005: 1-4.

  • Non breastfed infants are more likely to wet the bed later on. This may be due to delayed neurodevelopment, strongly linked to bed-wetting.

Children breast-fed as infants are less likely to wet the bed later on, probably because they have a developmental edge.  There is strong evidence that in many cases bed-wetting can “result from delayed neurodevelopment,” breast-feeding is beneficial because of the role that certain fatty acids passed onto the infant play in brain development.

• Breastfeeding During Infancy May Protect Against Bed-wetting During Childhood
Joseph G. Barone, Ranjith Ramasamy, Andrew Farkas, Emanuel Lerner, Eileen Creenan, Dawn Salmon, Jessica Tranchell, and Dona Schneider. Pediatrics 2006; 118: 254-259

  • Not breastfeeding may increase autism risks or severity.

In a case-control study using data from the Autism Internet Research Survey, an online parental survey conducted from February to April 2005; results were recorded for 861 children with autistic disorder and 123 control children.

Not breastfeeding for six months was significantly associated with an increase in the odds of having autistic disorder. The use of infant formula without docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid supplementation versus exclusive breastfeeding was associated with a significant increase in the odds of autistic disorder when all cases were considered.

• Stephen T Schultz , Hillary S Klonoff-Cohen , Deborah L Wingard , Natacha A Akshoomoff , Caroline A Macera , Ming Ji and Christopher Bacher. International Breastfeeding Journal 2006, 1:16 doi:10.1186/1746-4358-1-16

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding, stating it should be continued for at least the first year of life.

According to the AAP

“Human milk is species-specific, and all substitute feeding preparations differ markedly from it, making human milk uniquely superior for infant feeding. Exclusive breastfeeding is the reference or normative model against which all alternative feeding methods must be measured with regard to growth, health, development, and all other short- and long-term outcomes. In addition, human milk-fed premature infants receive significant benefits with respect to host protection and improved developmental outcomes compared with formula-fed premature infants… Pediatricians and parents should be aware that exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life and provides continuing protection against diarrhea and respiratory tract infection. Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child.

• http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;115/2/496 – A.A.P. Breastfeeding Policy Statement: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk Pediatrics Vol. 115 No. 2 February 2005

Back to summary