by Tara Carey
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First off I have to say that in my opinion breast is best implies that there is something that is an equal alternative to breast milk. When a mother’s own milk is not available, then the next best is donor milk. If that is not available, then cows based formula (ready made for 0-3mth) is next best.

Recently there has been an article circulating the internet stating that formula fed babies of breastfeeding siblings show no difference in growth development

The author claims that when one sibling was breastfed and another not, that there was no major difference in outcome of health (11 major factors including BMI {Body Mass Index}, obesity and asthma were included). [1]  There are many problems with the study that is not evidence based.  As quoted from another article The biggest problem with this conclusion is that the study ignored anything that happened in these families before their children reached the age of 4, disregarding well-established links between ear infections, pneumonia, vomiting and diarrhea and the amount of human milk a baby receives. There’s strong biological evidence for these relationships, because formula lacks the antibodies and other immune factors in breast milk that block bacteria from binding to the infant gut and airway.[2]As well, there are other factors such as full term vs. premature baby, was there skin to skin contact with the breastfed or the formula fed baby or did either have any preexisting health concerns?  As well, it is a study based on 25% of the population tested.  Another factor that is not taken into consideration is the long term maternal benefits.   It is now estimated that breastfeeding from six to 24 months throughout a mother’s reproductive lifetime may reduce the risk of breast cancer by 11 to 25 percent (Lyde 1989; Newcomb 1994). In addition to faster weight loss, higher percentage of calcium produced.  Even though it is decreased during lactation, current studies show that after weaning their children, breastfeeding mothers’ bone density returns to pre-pregnancy or even higher levels (Sowers 1995). In the long term, lactation may actually result in stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis. In fact, recent studies have confirmed that women who did not breastfeed have a higher risk of hip fractures after menopause (Cummings 1993)[3].

Breastfeeding is a personal choice.  Some women feel that it just isn’t for them.  Some women do it because they know it’s best for baby and themselves even though it’s not enjoyable.  And then some women breastfeed because they truly love it.  Would you prefer to put premium unleaded fuel in your tank if it were free?  Or would you still just use the regular unleaded?  Breastmilk is tailor made, high octane fuel for both you and baby.  If you are going to use formula, research it’s background.  Has it been recalled recently?  Why? What are the directions? Is it expired? What are the additives and preservatives?  What is in the list of ingredients?   Be smart and be safe. 

With all that in mind, people should make their decisions based on evidence based information.  Even with my pro-breastfeeding stance, I respect that feeding a baby is a personal choice, and there are many factors involved that go beyond just a bond or convenience.

[1]when the team restricted the sample to siblings who were fed differently within the same families, the scores showing breast-feeding’s positive effects on 10 of the 11 measures for child health and well-being were not statistically significant, the researchers say




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