Dr. Fuhrman Dr. Fuhrman

Risks of formula feeding

The Dutch "National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) published a report about the risks of formula feeding (they call it the benefits of breastfeeding) for mother and child: Quantification of health effects of breastfeeding - Review of the literature and model simulation.

Our study shows that in westernised countries breastfeeding has a clear beneficial health effect for the child and the mother as compared to formula feeding. Also, the longer the breastfeeding period, the lower the incidences of several diseases.. For the infant, convincing evidence is available about the positive effect of breastfeeding on the incidence and severity of gastrointestinal infections including diarrhoea, otitis media, obesity and high blood pressure. It is probable that breastfed children will suffer less from asthma, wheezing, eczema and have better intellectual and/or motor development. Possibly breastfeeding is negatively related with CrohnÂ’s disease, atopy, diabetes mellitus type I, and leukaemia. For the mother, there is convincing evidence for a protective effect of breastfeeding on rheumatoid arthritis. Possibly, the incidence of pre-menopausal breast and ovarian cancer decreases among mothers who breastfed their infants for a longer period.

It gives a good overview (with many graphs and tables) of what is known today about the effects of formula feeding on health.

March 8, 2006