A new study has found that breast milk directly from the breast is better for newborns. It was found that babies fed pumped breast milk had higher incidences of ear infections. At the same time, newborns that receive breast milk – from the breast or pump – suffer fewer bouts of diarrhea, compared to formula babies.
The researchers looked at nearly 500 new mothers and their newborns and discovered that one month of breast-feeding was associated with a four percent lower risk of ear infection. After six months of breast-feeding, the risk of ear infection was reduced by 17 percent.
In comparison to babies that were exclusively breast-fed, bottle-fed babies had a 14 percent higher risk of ear infection after one month. After six months of bottle-feeding, this risk rose to 115 percent.
Study author Sarah Keim said, “While it is not completely clear why ear infections may be related to bottle-feeding, it could be because bottles can create a negative pressure during feeding. This negative pressure is then transferred from the bottle to the middle ear of the infant during feedings, which may precipitate ear infections.”
“We certainly don’t want women to stop pumping because there are not adequate data or guidelines about whether pumped breast milk is an equivalent substitute for feeding at the breast, so more research needs to be done,” Keim added.
Newborns fed breast milk – either pumped or from the breast – were found to have a 30 percent lower risk of diarrhea compared to formula-fed babies that had a 34 percent higher risk of diarrhea.
Keim concluded, “This finding is consistent with previous research that shows positive associations between socioeconomic status and breast-feeding. Initiation and duration of breast-feeding may be explained by health care and information resources available to and accessed by mothers of greater socioeconomic status.”
Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article on Gestational diabetes can develop into type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.