A new study has determined breastmilk isn’t the golden elixir everyone would have you think it is. So why are they still saying breastfed babies are healthier?
Simply put, the breastmilk isn’t the answer – it’s the desire to breastfeed.
Scientist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology announced the results of a study this week that posits a baby’s overall health is determined before birth rather than during the early months.
In a release from the university, the scientists say breastfed babies are healthier on average than bottle-fed babies. That’s because “if a mother is able to breastfeed, and does so, this ability is essentially proof that the baby has already had an optimal life inside the womb.”
The Norwegian results fit into the gears of a multitude of other studies that have linked breastfed babies to successes down the road that can just as easily be linked to socio-economic status. Take the latest news out of Scotland – where breastfed babies, they’ve determined, eat a significantly more balanced diet in adolescence than their bottle-fed counterparts. Not surprisingly, Scottish health officials pointed to poverty and lack of opportunity playing a role in the diversification.
But none of this is really groundbreaking. In many countries, breastfeeding is still largely a practice of the middle and upper class (the states included), and along with that higher income bracket comes better prenatal care or at least more opportunity for it.
What’s important is that these studies help quell the mommy wars rather than providing ammunition to women on one side of the fence or the other. Breastfeeding isn’t bad. But it also can’t cure past health care slip ups.
So how about turning our eyes from each other’s breasts and putting them back where they belong: on our politicians debating over health care?
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