Breastfeeding: The Research

As we all know, I’m not convinced that the research out there on breastfeeding is trustworthy. I don’t know why I feel this way. I guess I’m so jaded these days (especially after this whole debt ceiling debacle) that I just find it hard to believe ‘because I said so’ to be the best reason to breastfeed.

Admittedly, I am feeling more inclined to certainly attempt to breastfeed and see how I feel about it. But, tonight I did some research and I came across this GREAT aggregate study from The Agency for Healthcare Research Quality. It was EXACTLY what I was looking for. The one thing I’d really like to see is true comparative studies to formula-fed infants.

I also learned that saying ‘exclusive breastfeeder’ means something different to all sorts of people. Studies suggest that the ‘exclusive breastfeeder’ moniker is deceiving. That could mean that someone who is pumping and bottle feeding isn’t truly an exclusive breasfeeder. Evidently there COULD be a difference between breast fed infants and bottle fed (even if it’s breast milk). So, a difference is made between breast milk fed or breastfed infants. Good to know.

There are some benefits – statistically – though they don’t reference what that means in the term of likelihood/statistics. For example, there is a statistical correlation for breastfeeding and a reduction in the occurence of childhood leukemia – ALL and AML. Ok, good to know. There is also a correlation in infants who are breastfed to four months and a reduced risk of asthma.

However, as I dug through this research, I couldn’t help but wonder: what difference does one week make? Two weeks? One month? Two months? Why is three months or six months the area in which the government and other associations have set their limit? Where is the supporting research on that…the legitimate research?

I don’t know what I think — that it’s some grand scheme to ‘keep the woman down’…maybe. I don’t know. I just wonder…I just wonder.

Anyway, if anyone else wonders, this study was very informative for me. I’d love any other studies (legit ones, please) you’d send my way to read through.

http://www.ahrq.gov/downloads/pub/evidence/pdf/brfout/brfout.pdf

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