When it comes to deciding between bottle and breastfeeding for baby, a new study gives a compelling argument for breastfeeding: babies who are breastfed for at least four months are less likely to develop major behavior problems in childhood, as well as less likely to lie, steal, be anxious, or hyperactive.
For new moms leaning toward one feeding option, genConnect relationship expert Laurie Puhn has great insight on how to successfully use both formula and breastfeeding for their little one.
The new study by British scientists found that 16 percent of formula-fed children had developed behavior problems by age five, as compared to 6 percent of children who had been breastfed. Scientists aren’t exactly sure for the exact reason – it could be the close interaction with mom, the fatty acids from breast milk that help in brain development, or another reason.
“The findings suggest that, at least in term children, longer duration of breast feeding is associated with fewer parent-rated behavioral problems in children aged 5 years,” concludes the study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
“Our results provide even more evidence for the benefits of breastfeeding,” says Maria Quigley of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University, who helped lead the work. “Mothers who want to breastfeed should be given all the support they need. Many women struggle to breastfeed for as long as they might otherwise like, and many don’t receive the support that might make a difference.”
Laurie Puhn, author of “Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship without Blowing Up or Giving In,” recently gave birth to her second child and recounts her experiences giving baby Emma both breast and bottle from Day 1, for both baby and mom’s benefits—but her decision still raised controversy.
“The culture of breastfeeding was, and is, so overwhelming that my brain was locked on all-or-nothing thinking, i.e. exclusive breastfeeding or formula. And so, I stopped nursing and pumped for a couple months until I was fed up with it,” Puhn recounts of her experience with her first child. “Not this time. Oh no. I would not suffer insecurity this way the second time around.”
She adds: “The combo approach I’ve taken to breastfeeding allows me the time and convenience to do what works in any given moment. This freedom of choice, day to day, hour to hour, gives me the control that I need to be happy and to be there for my son and husband.”
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