A study out of the US has found a fascinating link between mothers who intended to breastfeed their children and were unable to in the first year of infant life.
Researchers from Buffalo University in New York found that mothers who intended to breastfeed when pregnant but ended up formula feeding had children with similar health outcomes than those who are exclusively breastfeed.
The study was based on data from 1000 participants, and shows the potential benefits of mothers who researched and had greater knowledge around infant health, regardless of whether they were able to breastfeed or not.
“It’s important to understand that we are not trying to imply that just intending to breastfeed is what’s leading to these health outcomes,” Jessica Su, assistant professor of sociology said.
“What we found is that intending mothers had more information about nutrition and diet, they more frequently consulted their physicians and had better access to information related to infant health than those moms who did not intend to breastfeed.
“It’s important to more carefully quantify the trade-offs between breastmilk and formula given the strong breastfeeding recommendations and the realistic challenges that many mothers face, particularly among working mothers.
“By exploring factors influencing better infant health outcomes, information from the study helps contextualise the tradeoffs that a lot of mothers have to make when deciding how to feed their children.”
The World Health Organisation recommends women breastfeed their children until age two or over.
While many have the desire to breastfeed, it can be a difficult process for some.