Researchers studying the influences of body composition in early childhood found that, indeed, babies who were breastfed longer had a lower fat mass that could not be accounted for by genetic differences or height.
But the study isn’t another “Breast is Best” pitch.
Just as influential, researchers found, was a child’s weaning diet – both those being weaned from the breast and those being weaned from formula.
Kids who had the better diet during weaning — you know the drill, more fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins — also had greater lean mass by the time they were four years old.
At first blush, you kind of want to say, “duh. More veggies, less fat.” However, (shout out to Hanna Rosin!) while the findings are evidence supporting some claims that breastfeeding reduces the risk of obesity in babies, they also show you can undo the breastfeeding bennies rather quickly by going from num-nums to three meals a day of chicken nuggets and Goldfish crackers.
And also, good nutrition is good nutrition, no matter what you ate in your first year of life.
This is the first study to look beyond ounce-for-ounce comparisons of milks and their influence on baby/toddler body fat. Instead of breast vs. bottle, it’s fruit vs. Fruity Pebbles.