Breast milk still considered healthiest according to recent study

Posted on 01 June 2012

When mommies and daddies are expecting, important decisions must be made, such as how to decorate the nursery and what to name the little one. But, one choice that is equally important for parents is choosing how and what to feed the baby.

Breastfeeding has been favored as the healthiest method of feeding by doctors around the world. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that mothers breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first six months. But, mothers who choose not to or can't breastfeed may wonder what other formula options are safe to give their baby.

According to a study published by Pediatrics, soy milk is reported to be just as healthy as other milk-based formulas.
Doctors and researchers tracked approximately 400 babies, separated into groups who were fed breast milk, soy milk formula and traditional formula. Researchers followed up on the babies' development every three months during the first year of their life. They tested the little ones' progress using expressive communications and infant development scales.

In terms of brain development, there was no difference for the babies in each of the three groups. However, babies that were given breast milk received higher scores in the cognitive function and physical movement categories.

"Breast-fed infants test better in some - not all - standardized behavioral tests than formula-fed infants, although the differences are very small," author of the study and director of the Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center, Thomas Badger, said in an email.

However, Badger did say that mothers who choose not to or cannot breastfeed should not feel guilty. He also mentioned that soy-based proteins are a good option for babies that have trouble digesting traditional store-bought formula.

But before making the decision on how to feed your infant, it is a good idea to speak with your doctor. He or she can give you advice on what is healthiest based on the needs of your baby.

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