Many feel pressured to breast-feed and ill-informed about alternative, researchers find
TUESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- The lack of information and support for mothers who bottle-feed could put the health of their infants at risk, say British researchers who reviewed 23 studies that included more than 13,000 participants.
Most infants will receive some formula milk during their first year of life, even if their mothers have decided to breast-feed, said Dr. Rajalakshmi Lakshman and colleagues, from the University of Cambridge. Variations in bottle-feeding can have long-term health consequences for children, they noted.
Their review of published studies identified several common themes:
The findings appear online July 14 in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.
It's important to promote breast-feeding because it's the healthiest option for both mother and baby, said the authors. But they added that it's "also necessary to ensure that the needs of bottle-feeding mothers are met ... Inadequate information and support for mothers who decide to bottle-feed may put the health of their babies at risk."
If health-care professionals don't provide correct information about bottle-feeding, mothers will seek help from family and friends, which may increase the risk of incorrect bottle-feeding practices being handed down, the researchers said.
The Nemours Foundation has more about breast- and bottle-feeding.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: BMJ Specialist Journals, news release, July 13, 2009
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