Although we earlier this month reported on research that suggested that adding formula into your otherwise breastfed-only baby's diet might be a good idea in the event your child is experiencing weight loss, there is another study now suggesting that formula could in fact work a little too well in alleviating weight loss issues for infants ... as it could actually lead to obesity early on in said child's life.
In this new study involving 8,000 babies, researchers determined that babies that were only breastfed during their first six months had a 2.5-times better chance of being healthy weight-wise than those who were given formula.
According to the study, which was published in April via the National Center for Biotechnology Information, babies that are breastfed and given formula are still likely to be more obese by their 24th month. The chances are a little less than those which are only formula-fed, however, at two times the likelihood of those exclusively breastfed.
The study further states that setting a baby down to bed with a bottle or giving your baby solid foods before 4 months will increase his/her risk of early obesity, as well.
Though there have, again, been earlier studies suggesting formula-feeding can be a healthful component to baby's diet, it seems the manner in which the formula is given can lead to the child's early onset of obesity.
"While there are nutritional differences between formula and breast milk, there is also a cluster of unhealthy feeding behaviors that can go along with using formula, such as the expectation that the child should finish the bottle," Brigham Young University Assistant Professor of Sociology Ben Gibbs, PhD, who is the lead author of the study, said. "It's like insisting that kids clean their plate at mealtime, which teaches them to ignore their natural hunger signals."
Gibbs is not alone in his declaration that the trouble with formula could be the way in which it's given to babies.
"There are some substances in breast milk that help infants tell when they're full, so they get a better satiety response to their meals" Sara Lappe, MD, said.
Lappe is the director of the b. Well Kids' Clinic, which is a part of the Cleveland Clinic's Children's Hospital.
"Also, breastfeeding is more of a supply and demand situation-when babies are full, they stop nursing."
As of 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that your baby should be exclusively breastfed for its first 6 months in order to decrease the likelihood of obesity.
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