Breastfed babies have better head growth and lower blood pressure

Breastfeeding is universally recommended as the superior method for feeding infants because it’s linked to prevention of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and long-term prevention of various illnesses including asthma, diabetes,and obesity … and even behavioral problems. Now a study is showing that breastfed babies have improved head (and presumably brain) growth and lower blood pressure.

The Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” blog notes that ; and findings presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting place “more emphasis on breastfeeding by showing it may have a lasting impact on metabolism” — even lasting a lifetime.

Researchers analyzed “three years of data following 234 children and how they were fed after birth” and found that children who received breast milk “for the first four months had a specific pattern of growth and metabolic profile that differed from the formula-fed babies.”

Even at “15 days of life,” the breast-fed infants had “blood insulin levels that were lower than the formula-fed infants.”

HealthDay noted that by age 3, “diastolic and average blood pressure for babies fed the higher-protein formulas was higher than for breast-fed kids, though the blood pressure was still within the normal range.”

The study also found that breast-fed infants had “different growth patterns during their first year of life, but by age 3, there were no differences in length, weight or body composition (fat. vs. lean mass).”

The researchers concluded, “At 3 years of age, and compared with 4 months of exclusive breastfeeding, this study shows that formula feeding induces (negative) changes in head circumference growth, and in mean and diastolic blood pressure. These changes are related with the protein content of the formula.”

The bottom line for mothers is this: If you can exclusively breastfeed your baby, that’s likely to benefit you and your baby. And, the longer you can breastfeed, the better — with the ideal being at least six-months of exclusive breastfeeding.

Here are some of my blogs on the benefits of breast feeding for the child:

Here are some of my blogs on the benefits of breast feeding for the mom:

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