New research from the University of Western Australia recommends breast feeding for babies, as it helps avoid infection. According to this research, babies who are breast-fed tend to have fewer infections than those who are formula-fed.
The researchers from UWA and the University Freiburg in Germany took 21 lactating mothers at different stages of lactation, ranging from birth to a few years into lactation, as the study subjects.
Close study revealed that the leukocytes or immune cells in breast milk rapidly increased when the mother or baby had an infection, and returned to normal when the infection was over. Also, it was the same when the baby had an infection, and the mother didn't, which reinforced the importance of breastfeeding as a protective factor for the baby.
"In places where families don't have ready access to medicine, particularly developing countries, breastfeeding may be a determining factor in infant recovery and survival," the study authors said.
"Formula doesn't offer this protection and the ability to adjust to infant needs."
According to the researchers, this new finding may be helpful in updating the policy on infant nutrition to maximize immunological protection.
"At the same time, they offer new grounds for examining the mechanisms behind the very low rates of symptomatic HIV and cytomegalovirus disease in infants exclusively breastfed by infected mothers," they said.
These findings also suggested that babies who were not exclusively breast-fed, did not just contain lower breast milk concentrations, but also contained fewer leukocytes, making them more susceptible to different infections.
Ideally, a baby should be breast-fed for at least 12 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What's more, popular stars like Kristy Kemp and Salma Hayek also vote for breast feeding!