A Mix of Formula and Breastfeeding May Benefit Baby
There has long been a debate about whether it is better to breastfeed or formula-feed babies. Some breastfeeders accuse formula-users of not supplying the healthy benefits of breastmilk to their babies, and some formula-users insist that formula is their only option. According to a recent study, a mix of both might not only be a happy medium, but it might benefit baby as well.
In recent years, breastfeeding advocates have inspired hospitals to take action. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed their babies exclusively for at least the first six months.
For years, hospitals have handed out complimentary gift bags full of free samples of baby products to new mothers. Many included formula samples. Last year, many hospitals around the United States decided to ban formula from being handed out to new mothers.
Breastfeeding advocates argue that they are not “anti-formula,” but they believed that by handing out formula samples, which acted as advertising for those companies, hospitals were discouraging mothers from breastfeeding.
Indeed, there are many new mothers who are unable to breastfeed for health or other reasons. Published breastfeeding advocates like www.breastfeeding.com do not condemn mothers who are unable or unwilling to breastfeed; but they do encourage them to make an informed decision.
Recently however, a new study performed by the journal Pediatrics suggests that the use of very small amounts of formula may be beneficial to babies, and actually lengthen the time they are able to breastfeed.
In the study, researchers tested about 40 babies that had experienced weight loss just a day or two after they were born. One group of infants was exclusively breastfed and the other group was fed one third of an ounce of formula after every nursing period.
By the end of three months, the researchers found that 76 percent of the formula-fed babies were being breastfed exclusively, while only 47 percent of the other group remained exclusively breastfed.
Plans are already in place to continue with similar studies to prove that small amounts of formula can lengthen the time that baby can breastfeed.
For mothers who struggle to breastfeed, beginning to use small amounts of formula may help your child latch on. Even if it doesn’t work for you, it might be worth a try.
Would you try this method of feeding your baby? Did you feed your baby formula or breast milk? Comment below!
Image via Flickr/David Leo Veksler