The benefits of breastfeeding seem to be countless for both mom and baby, and there is now new research that suggests that breastfed babies are less likely to be obese later in life.
Researchers in Canada found that breastfeeding was associated with a lower body mass index (BMI) in babies. Those babies also had a reduced risk of excessive weight gain within the first year of their life. The longer a mother breastfed her baby the stronger this connection was.
They looked at 2,553 infants and their mothers, focusing on feedings. Participants used a variety of methods for feedings. Some mothers nursed their babies directly on their breasts, while others pumped milk, and some used formula. Interestingly enough, the study also found the method in which babies were being fed affected BMI later in life.
Babies nursing directly from the breast seemed to gain the best benefit. They had a lower risk of obesity compared to bottle-fed babies, even if those bottles contained breast milk. The study found babies who nursed on the breast had a 26 percent reduced risk of obesity later in life. Researchers are still unclear about the difference and why nursing from the breast yields more beneficial results than pumped milk.
Babies who were drinking expressed milk from a bottle seemed to have a weaker beneficial impact of the reduced risk of excessive weight gain but expressed milk was still found to be more beneficial compared to formula when studying the risk of obesity later in life.
With all of this information in mind, please remember that if formula feeding has been working well for you or it's what your baby needs, formula is still a great option, especially for moms who can't breastfeed at all!
According to the research children who breastfed had a lower BMI at three months old, and researchers believe they may have a decreased risk of obesity later in life. Interestingly enough, babies who were given formula as a supplement by 6 months were associated with higher BMIs compared to babies who received supplementation with solid foods only.
The results here are important because obesity continues to be worldwide public health problems that can start early in life. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate supplemental foods up to 2 years.