Here's a new twist on the benefits of breastfeeding that nobody's voiced before:
The fact that breastfed infants are slightly healthier than formula-fed infants has nothing to do with the milk. It has everything to do with the mom's hormone levels during pregnancy and whether the baby is healthy before he is even born.
Try to follow this logic from the Norwegian researcher, Sven Carlsen (hey, great baby name!):
If a pregnant mother has high levels of androgens, male hormones, during pregnancy, they will stop the flow of nutrients to the unborn baby, as reported by news.com.au in Australia. Makes sense. Boy hormones are not good baby-makers.
That baby won't be born as healthy as a child whose mother had low androgen levels, allowing an adequate flow of nutrients to baby.
The high androgens also restrict milk production, so the baby is reluctant to nurse, and often goes on formula. A low-androgen mom produces tons of excellent milk, so the baby latches on and feeds like there's no tomorrow.
Huh. Before you jump all over poor Sven, let's let this sink in.
And know that this wasn't a little study. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology reviewed data from more than 50 international studies looking at the relationship between breastfeeding and health.
Among the findings: No evidence that breastfeeding reduced the risk of asthma and allergies in children. He added the only benefit supported by genuine evidence is a "small IQ advantage."
Health officials are already dismissing the research, saying "breast is still best."
Okay, it's sunk. Let's just say there's something to this study. It still doesn't negate the fact that many women don't even try to breastfeed due to preconceived notions, misinformation, and lack of support. There are other benefits to breastfeeding besides the milk itself. Okay, so maybe not more sleep but other stuff just as good like bonding with baby, losing weight for mom, and saving a little bit of money.
It would be nice if everyone at least gave it a shot, then moved to formula if it didn't work because of androgens or whatever. Hey, that sounds like a great compromise! Sven? Everyone?
So, another study that tries to take breastfeeding down a notch. Do you like these reports or not?