Evidence continues to mount that breast milk is the best milk for babies.
A recent meta analysis concludes that breastfeeding gives babies a three point advantage in IQ over bottle fed babies (Am J Clin Nutri, 1999; 70: 433-4). The advantage is greatest in those babies born before term another good argument for Kangaroo type care where the premature infant is carried in a sling close to warmth and the mother’s breast.
Another study has shown that breastfeeding can also reduce the risk of developing childhood leukaemia. A large study of over 2000 children with leukaemia suggests that breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing the cancer by 20 per cent. The effect was strongest in those children who were breastfed for more than six months (J Nat Cancer Inst, 1999; 91: 1765-72).
Putting your baby to the breast may also reduce the risk of childhood obesity, according to German researchers. Data showed that bottlefed children were nearly twice as likely to be obese when compared with breastfed children. In children who breastfed exclusively for at least six months, the risk of being overweight was reduced by more than 30 per cent and the risk of obesity, by more than 40 per cent.