The results of a new study suggest thatthere is no difference in the risk of weightgain between breast-fed and bottle-fedbabies. Researchers measured body fatfor 313 five-year-olds and collected dataon their feeding histories. They used thedual-energy x-ray absorptiometry methodrather than body mass index to determinefatness. Of the 313 children, one quarterof the mothers did not breast-feed. Of the231 who did, 88 moms breast-fed for lessthan 6 months, 77 breast-fed for 6 monthsto 1 year, and 66 breast-fed for more than1 year. Fifty-two women breast-fed formore than 1 year without using formula.Half the mothers started their babies onsolid foods at 4 months, and only 8%waited until 6 months to start on solids.With the compiled data, researchersfound no difference in fat levels betweenbottle-fed and breast-fed children. Althoughthis study will not end the debateover infant feeding, it may assuage anyfears mothers may have regarding bottle-feeding. The study authors, however,are quick to point out the documentedbenefits of breast milk, such as protectinginfants from respiratory tract and earinfections and improving cognitive function.The findings were published in theMarch 2006 issue of the AmericanJournal of Clinical Nutrition.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.