Thursday, January 12, 2012

Study finds breastfed babies to be "more challenging"

Yup. They sure 'nough went there! Well some "genius'" decided to put together a "study" and once again it is breastmilk vs formula. (When will this battle stop? I mean really? Do people STILL need to waste their time and energy on this topic? Can't we all just realize that breastmilk is best for MOST babies....and leave it at that? I mean, honestly, why do we have to read articles that fuel the "I'm better than you are" mummie battle?! I for one am sick of this battle and would be happy to see it drowned in some Nummies.... but enough about that... back to the "study.")

SO.... here is some  background for you....This "study" (like how I am using quotation marks for the word "study?" Yeah I thought you would.) was published in the online journal, Public Library of Science ONE. The "research team" (again with the quotation marks!)
consisted of members from the Medical Research Council, Cambridge, University of Cambridge, University College London and University Paris-Sud, France. It was funded by Medical Research Council (MRC) along with some other "un-released or hard to find" money pockets.

This is how it went down:

The researchers followed 316 infants born between 2006 and 2009 in Cambridge (171 boys and 145 girls.) The babies ranged from exclusively breastfed (total amount 137 babies), mixed feedings, both breast milk and formula (91 total)  and exclusively formula (88 total.) At the age of 3 months, the mothers were given a 191 questionnaire assessment, with questions on the  “three major dimensions” of infant temperament :

*Surgency/extroversion, which means cheerfulness or sociability: higher scores are seen in infants with high activity levels, impulsivity and positive response to highly stimulating situations.
*Negative affectivity: higher scores indicate higher distress or irritability and emotional instability.
*Orienting/regulation: higher scores indicate greater ability to be soothed easily and to regulate their own emotions.

The questions included how much babies smiled or laughed during play, how often babies cooed, how much distress they showed when being washed or changed, how easily they were to soothe, and how much pleasure they expressed at being hugged.

These are their "findings:"

The study  found that compared to formula-fed babies, exclusively breastfed and mixed-fed babies had:

*lower impulsivity and lower positive responses to stimulation (overall surgency/extraversion score 4.3 in formula-fed and 4.0 in both mixed-fed and breastfed groups)
*lower ability to regulate their own emotions (overall orienting/regulation score 5.1 in formula-fed and 4.9 in both mixed-fed and breastfed groups)
*higher emotional instability (overall negative affectivity score 2.8 in formula-fed and 3.0 in both mixed-fed and breastfed groups)

They concluded that "breastfeeding may be demanding for both mothers and babies but the findings should not be taken to discourage mothers from breastfeeding. Mothers should be given more realistic expectations about infant temperament and more support to cope with the difficult aspects of breastfeeding."

Lead researcher Dr Ken Ong, a pediatrician from the MRC Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge, said their findings do not contradict the "overwhelming body of evidence supporting breastfeeding as the normal and most healthy form of infant nutrition". He also said "Bottle-fed babies may appear more content, but research suggests that these infants may be over-nourished and gain weight too quickly. Our findings are essentially similar to other stages of life; people often find that eating is comforting."

Now let me be me...... while I am pretty bothered that they will say that nummie lovers are "more challenging" than formula fed babies.... ('Cause I think that is just a horrible thing to say and I do not agree with it) they did say that they believe that formula fed babies tend to be "over-nourished (aka over fed) and gain weight too "quickly" (aka reason there is a formula fed growth chart and a breastfed growth chart.) But really? As much as they state that breastmilk is "normal and most healthy form of infant nutrition" the research kinda has a "slap in the face" reaction to breastfeeding. Look... we all know breastfeeding isn't easy.... but to say that the babies who are breastfed are less happy, less emotionally stable, not able to regulate their emotions, and are more challenging is just wrong. 

I know both of my girls are pretty happy, very emotionally stable and really happy. Now.... if they were away from Mommy too long, or could not even see Mommy.... then well, yeah, they were UNSTABLE! I mean sheesh I was their SOLE source of EVERYTHING! Who wouldn't be unstable if their world was gone?

So MY conclusion is this: Mummie's Nummies is still the best (not just the blog... oh come on I HAD to!) but feed your baby the way you are able to, for as long as you are able to. Love your wee little Nummie Lover with everything you have. Chances are your Nummie Lover will be stable....... no matter what.

You know you all rock.... so give yourself a breast pump (play on to fist pump!)


1 comment:

  1. I FF my DD and BF my son so I have a pretty good idea of how both develop. My FF baby was a lot more unhappy than my BF baby. Now in the beginning DS did fuss more than DD. But that is because breast milk digests faster and he needed to feed more often. That is NORMAL. Perhaps when those ladies were filling out the questionnaire they mistook fussing for milk as being generally more fussy.


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