According to a Canadian study published today in the journal Pediatrics, babies that are breastfed will be healthier than the ones fed breast milk from the bottle.
The BMI scores at three months old also showed a slower weight gain in babies, which is also a positive result, explains the study author Meghan Azad, who is a research scientist at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba:
“Moms who pump go through a lot of effort to do that, and I wouldn’t want them to get the impression that it’s not worth it. But it does raise the question of, if pumped milk is not the same or not as good, why is that? And what should we be doing to support moms better around breastfeeding if that’s what they want to do?”
Compared to babies that were fed breast milk from the bottle, the ones being breastfed had a lower risk of becoming overweight later in like. Stopping breastfeeding before six months was also a factor of weight gain.
Lars Bode, who is the director of the Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Mother-Milk-Infant Center of Research Excellence (University of California San Diego), highlights that BMI early in life is vital:
“Other data has shown quite nicely that if you have an elevated (BMI) early on in life, it sets you up for childhood and then adolescent obesity later on in life.”
Researchers haven’t yet looked into what happens to pumped milk when refrigerated or thawed, but it is less superior to breastfeeding. Azad’s study also reinforces the idea that breastfeeding is healthy for the baby, and send a clear message to policymakers to have moms on maternity leave for a longer time.
“Every feed counts”
The more a mother can breastfeed, the better, added Azad, also knowing that not all moms can exclusively breastfeed:
“Any amount is better than none. The more you can do, the better. Every feed counts.”
According to the WHO recommendations, a baby should be exclusively breastfed “up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.”
The CDC explained that breastfeeding lowers the risk of infections, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, and more conditions.
Bode concludes that breastfeeding “still is so much more powerful than formula-feeding,” regardless of how it’s fed.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.