Breastfeeding's Long-Term Benefits Overstated, Based On Flawed Data


“Once we restrict analyses to siblings and incorporate within-family fixed effects, estimates of the association between breastfeeding and all but one indicator of child health and wellbeing dramatically decrease and fail to maintain statistical significance,” the researchers concluded. “Our results suggest that much of the beneficial long-term effects typically attributed to breastfeeding, per se, may primarily be due to selection pressures into infant feeding practices along key demographic characteristics such as race and socioeconomic status.


Breasts exist to feed infants and breastfeeding naturally provides the best nutrition for infants, and in my opinion, it has many other benefits as well, so breastfeeding was my personal choice. If I had it to do over, I would choose it again :). Breastfeeding seems like the logical choice, when possible.


Agreed! It is by far the best option if possible. My only request is when nursing, exercise modesty when in public places and be cognizant of others and their views. I strongly encourage women to nurse when possible for a large number of benefits not only to the child but to the mother as well.


Plus it’s cheaper and you never have to worry about it being recalled. :smiley:


I do agree that breastfeeding should be the first option and at least all moms should give it a try to see if it works but I must say that I have always suspected that studies have been overstated. In my case comes because out of my grandmother’s six grandchildren, I was the only one who never got sick (my cousins had from chicken pox, Scarlet fever to meningitis and I was the only one who never got any of these diseases) and I am the only one who had never had a weight problem (my entire family is overweight but my grandfather and ne -on the right weight my entire life with no diets or anything) so I always wondered how come the bottle fed child was the healthiest. I do think there is a benefit to breastfeeding but I agree that it has been overstated and that are many other external factors that are going to have influence on the health of the child.


It is also good for when there is a blizzard and it is impossible to get out. (Voice of experience)


:thumbsup: It is the logical choice. If breasts weren’t naturally needed women wouldn’t naturally develop them. I think that some scientists want to believe that they are smarter than God and nature. Perhaps lungs and oxygen are overrated, too. :rolleyes:


I’d just like to interject that this article is discussing long-term benefits of breastfeeding. It does not dispute short-term benefits.

“However, the findings don’t challenge notions about the short-term health benefits to breastfeeding, which include greater protection from gut and chest infections. The study only questions the purported benefits of lower rates of obesity, asthma, hyperactivity, lower scholastic success, and weaker parental bonds.”


It should be common sense that the normal parts of the body we are born with are there for a good reason. We shouldn’t need a study to figure this out anymore than we should need a study to figure out whether having lungs is good in the long-term or not. I hope this ridiculous study wasn’t done with tax-payer money.


Well of course it is! Does anyone honestly think someone can pick breast-fed kids out of a line up years later? Of course not! Breastfeeding is healthy and improves infant and mothers’ health while it’s going on. It’s a good idea to do it when possible for that reason. The idea that either breastfeeding or bottle feeding will make or ruin a child’s lifelong health, personality, or whole sense of worth is the rediculous fantasy of insecure parents who need to feel affirmed and/or superior over every little parenting choice they make. They say it’s wise to avoid discussing religion and politics if you want to avoid contention and hurt feelings. The subject of breastfeeding, however, seems to leave a similar path of social devastation in its wake.


I totally agree with this ^^^^


This work is supported by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development awarded to the Ohio State University Institute for Population Research.


I don’t know…both mine were breastfed, and never ever had an ear infection…never missed school due to illness, are still robustly healthy. I’m a definite advocate.
Plus, it was always the just right temperature! :thumbsup:


I think that is a faulty assumption. The male nipple would be one example of a body part without an apparent good reason.


You may be looking a little too deep into this and what you said doesn’t negate his point.

If breast milk wasn’t what it’s been thought in the way of benefits, formula producers would have spent the last few decades trying to imitate breast milk.


I would say a better example is the appendix. :slight_smile: We have no idea what that does, whereas men can lactate, as all breasts have some extent of breast tissue and milk ducts, in which case a nipple is handy, lol. :slight_smile:

As far as the study, as I understand it, the data used is really old, and they picked THE three measures that no study has ever shown breastfeeding to really be a factor in.

Edit: Well apparently they do now know of some functions of the appendix, so nevermind…


The new research, published this week in the journal Social Science & Medicine, looked at longitudinal data from three separate populations: 8,237 children, 7,319 siblings and 1,773 sibling pairs where at least one child was breast-fed and at least one child was not.

Researchers measured 11 outcomes previously shown to be impacted by breast-feeding: body mass index (BMI); obesity; asthma; hyperactivity; parental attachment; behavior compliance; and achievement in vocabulary, reading recognition, math ability, intelligence and scholastic competence.


I have to wonder at least a bit about longer term effects as well. Now, I realize this is not the same, but I have raised a lot of cattle in my time. A calf has to have mother’s milk right after birth in order to survive at all. (because of the colostrum). But if a mother cow is deficient in milk even after that or if the calf is removed (as with milk cows) the calf never thrives as well as one that gets mother’s milk during the peak milk flow, even if you bottle-feed it.


Well, too late to go back and change things now as youngest is 17. lol Breastfeeding obviously has huge near-term benefits, so for us it almost didn’t matter about the longer term ones. In general though, if an infant that has a good start with on-demand feeding of milk made specifically for him, it stands to reason that the good foundation would lead to better outcomes in general later one.

Sure, I would say in the US today, considering that it is mostly better off women who breastfeed, and couples who are very committed to family who work out how to do extended breastfeeding, those children will also have the advantages of (usually) more financial stable, committed, and educated parents.

However, my breastfed children have grown up with allergies and a tendency to an annual bout with bronchitis or sinusitis. So I guess they aren’t perfect. :smiley:


We can’t even figure out if eggs are good or bad for us and here we are worried about milk designed to be consumed only by human babies. :smiley:

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