Breast may not be best, says new baby study

WOMEN should forget what they have been told about the health benefits of breastfeeding, it has been claimed.

A controversial new study has concluded that, contrary to the view of many experts, breast is not necessarily best for children in the first months of life.

Professor Sven Carlsen, who led the Norwegian team, declared: "Baby formula is as good as breast milk."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What really affects the health of a growing infant is the hormone balance in the womb before birth, according to the research.

This in turn influences a woman's ability to breast feed, resulting in a misleading association between breastfeeding and child health, it is claimed.

The only benefit from breastfeeding supported by genuine evidence is a "small IQ advantage", said the scientists. And even this was yet to be properly confirmed.

Prof Carlsen's team reviewed data from more than 50 international studies looking at the relationship between breastfeeding and health.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Most concluded that the more children were breast fed, the healthier they were.

The largest study on breastfeeding was conducted in Belarus and involved more than 17,000 women and children who were monitored for six years.

It "cut the legs out from underneath most of the assertions that breastfeeding has health benefits" said the scientists.

For example, the study found no evidence that breastfeeding reduced the risk of asthma and allergies in children. Mental ability was the only area where a small benefit was seen.

Related topics: