formula breastmilk

Formula = Breastmilk

Have you heard the news? It turns out that nursing your baby is a big waste of effort because formula is just as beneficial as breastmilk. At least that’s the conclusion you could reasonably draw from recent headlines that assert that there are “no long-term benefits of breastfeeding,” and “breast doesn’t beat the bottle.”

These days, everyone from the AAP to the super judgey lady at the playground will tell you that, in the battle of formula versus breast milk, the boobs win. And while breast milk is obviously great, this consensus can put a ton of pressure on parents for whom breastfeeding isn’t an option.

But a recent study that looked at how child brain development is affected by breast milk compared to formula might help ease some of the stress for women with tired breasts, inverted nipples, chronically inflamed ducts or any number of awful things requiring them to fill their bras with cabbage (Seriously, it’s a thing. And it’s supposed to do wonders).

There are two, count them, TWO studies that have concluded that formula and breast milk have no significant differences!

1)Sociologist Cynthia Colen’s cleverly designed new study, which looked at 1,773 sibling pairs in which one had been breastfed and the other had not, and found that — when these kids were between the ages of 4 and 14 years old-there were no statistically significant differences in their BMI, obesity rates, hyperactivity, parental attachment levels, behavioral compliance, or several measures of academic achievement.

As soon as the “formula is as good as breastmilk” headlines started clogging up the newsfeeds, many feel skeptical, defensive, and even annoyed.

They are attached to the idea that breastfeeding is hugely beneficial, considering that they nursed exclusively.

Breastfeeding — while snuggly and sweet and a great way to lose pregnancy weight — is also a serious commitment and involves a lot of personal sacrifice. This is especially true if you plan to do it without supplementing with formula, without a breast pump (obviously not an option for moms working out of the home), and for longer than a year.

All this nursing — and the lack of traveling, sleeping, and drinking margaritas — had better be ensuring that my sons are healthy little geniuses, dammit!

2)The Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center followed more than 300 children who were split pretty evenly between babies who’d been given cow’s milk formula, soy milk formula, and breast milk. The researchers tested the babies for language skills and other developmental milestones every 3 months for the first year.

What they found was that there was no significant difference in growth or development between the groups; all 3 scored, on average, within normal range.

 

Still, this evidence should come as welcome news if you’re tired of crying, feeling guilty, and eating breast-wilted cabbage salads.

Just take a deep breath and call this old argument’s bluff.