March 5, 2014

The long-term benefits of breastfeeding are...

"Nothing. Exactly."

42 comments:

madAsHell said...

We know that children who are breastfed are much more likely to come from middle-income families; to have parents with higher levels of education; they’re more likely to be white; more likely to live in middle-class or safe neighborhoods — all these things that we know are going to impact these long-term child outcomes.

I did not know that.

khesanh0802 said...

Interesting that now only beneficial effects by a minimum of 6 months and more likely a commitment of a year to two years. Sounds a lot like "barefoot and pregnant" to me. Not in tune with modern women … a ha!!! - the next war on women!

cassandra lite said...

But wait, the science is settled. So said all those hectoring La Leche League ladies who nearly pulled the formula bottle out of your hand when you fed your kid in public.

Biff said...

The most telling line in the article: "It takes courage to question breastfeeding benefits these days."

Cry "Havoc!" There is no more vicious a group on the net than breast feeding advocates when called to action. Not even anti-war protestors (circa 2005) or anti-vaccine people come close.

SGT Ted said...

BAHAHAHAHA

SGT Ted said...

So, it was all really about women socially policing their own.

Classic.

Jupiter said...

Well, except that this is not actual science, this is government science.

Birches said...

But wait, the science is settled.

Yep. I also love the idea that any study that shows bf isn't a magic elixir is immediately criticized as being bought and paid for by the formula companies. On the other hand, no one makes any money off of the modern, breastfeeding mother. . .

Hagar said...

There is some odd language in that article regarding what is important to babies and what is not.

And I have not heard even LaLeche League ladies claim that breastfeeding would improve SAT scores before.

Birches said...

The comments over there are amazing. I'm not sure why so many moms have such a negative and aggressive reaction to one study. Did you not enjoy nursing your children? Or do you feel like you were cheated out of something if somehow the kid next door turns out to be just fine with his bottle? It makes no sense.

I love this piece of satire on breastfeeding.

Birches said...

Now if people want to promote nursing culture more in society (and especially among the lower classes), they're going to have to do something about WIC. Because why would anyone struggle with learning how to nurse if formula is free?

It's a cultural thing, not a science thing. One mother told me, "why would I breastfeed my baby? That's why God invented bottles!"

Hagar said...

One important long term benefit of breastfeeding for babies might the little item the author slides lightly over regarding immunity against infections, etc.
The short term benefits may be somewhat important for them to live to have any long term benefits of any kind.

Freeman Hunt said...

Immediate benefits:
Formula costs about $1000 a year.
Co-pays, which vary, do not have to be paid for ear infections, and other infections but especially ear infections, a baby never has.
No bottle washing and having to carry mixes and bottles everywhere one goes.

Long term benefit:
Reduced risk of breast cancer for the mother.

Freeman Hunt said...

I was always skeptical of the IQ claims.

madAsHell said...

Immediate benefits:
Formula costs about $1000 a year.
Co-pays, which vary, do not have to be paid for ear infections, and other infections but especially ear infections, a baby never has.
No bottle washing and having to carry mixes and bottles everywhere one goes.

Long term benefit:
Reduced risk of breast cancer for the mother.


Thanks, Mom!!
Although, I'm really confused why this seems to be an indication of upward mobility.

What are the baby-mamas doing??

RecChief said...

I'm convinced that at some point, there will have been a study that said or says that everything we eat or drink is extremely harmful to us, with follow on studies that dispute that. My grandfather is 94, survived 4 combat jumps, ate bacon and eggs (fried in bacon grease of course) with toast and real butter with home made preserves. He never had a problem until he was 88 and a doctor convinced him he needed to take statins because his cholesterol was 30 points higher than the (arbitrarily arrived at) number the doctor said was healthy. Now he can't walk, lost all strength in one leg. Screw all these studies.

Also, what cassandra lite said.

Sorun said...

Yabut look at this strapping 1 year-old.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Although, I'm really confused why this seems to be an indication of upward mobility."

Because you have to either be a stay at home mother or someone with a nice enough job that pumping is an option. Also, the cost benefits accrue only to those who must buy those things with their own money. Formula is free through WIC, so there's no cost benefit for people using that.

Freeman Hunt said...

Some people are way too strident about nursing. Why be strident at all? They do it or they don't do it. (Or they can't do it.) People make their on choices.

St. George said...

Salt is good for you.

So are eggs and bacon.

Spicy food doesn't cause ulcers.

Whole milk is better than skim for keeping weight off.

Anti-oxidants don't not prevent cancer.

Ah, what else?

Drinking in moderation while pregnant is okay.

Doing crossword puzzles and being social don't stave off Alzheimer's.

Pot is harmless.

A pack of Luckies a day keeps the doctor....well, maybe not...

Freeman Hunt said...

I was behind someone at the grocery store not long ago who was using WIC. It appeared that she was expected to count out exact numbers of different food items from a pre-approved list. At first her voucher would not go through because a couple jars of baby food were mango, which was not yet approved. The jars had to be replaced with the same number of other jars, and for some reason this took forever. It all seemed overly complicated and very much like something a bureaucrat would dream up.

Titus said...

Do you all white, dried up, invisible oldies know hindus breast feed until like 10 years old?

Freeman Hunt said...

Why the counting? Are they afraid people will go wild buying, say, eggs and not get any milk? "What are all these eggs?! Where is your milk?!"

Scott M said...

"The long-term benefits of breastfeeding are...Exactly. Nothing."

This is true. Mortality rates among people born to human females is 100% no matter if they were breast fed or not.

PS - My kingdom for an edit function.

mccullough said...

The benefit for the dads is they don't have to wake up in the middle of the night to breast feed.

themightypuck said...

The last study to get media attention is always the right one.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling there is a lot not being considered here.

For example, time spent with the mother. None of my children had any issues with their teeth until about 8 years old, long after such feeding was over. On the other hand, one of my in laws children has had several problems because they leave them with the bottle and the milk just sits in the back of the babies mouth and causes the teeth to rot.

Or how about immediate gratification as opposed to delayed gratification? A bottle gives the baby an immediate interaction with the formula. The breast, on the other hand, needs to be worked.

I'd be willing to bet there are lot's of little things like this that just aren't taken into account.

SteveR said...

I would suppose the study was valid for what it studied. As others, esp Freeman have pointed out there is more to the formulation than that. And its totally inaccurate to lump most breast feeding mothers into the La Leche mold. We did it for three kids and lived pretty normal lives while doing so. We are happy that we did so and I'm thankful my wife made the effort.

boinky said...

actually, in the third world where keeping bottles clean is nearly impossible and where powdered milk takes half your pay, breast feeding is life saving.

And guess what: It allows you to space your babies.

In the USA, the main advantage: fewer rotten teeth from bottle mouth.

MayBee said...

Didn't Obamacare just mandate breast pump rooms for employers? And breast pump coverage in insurance?

MarkW said...

"The benefit for the dads is they don't have to wake up in the middle of the night to breast feed."

Yep. My wife breast-fed our 2 kids only briefly each time (it just didn't work out). So they were on formula fairly early. Which meant it was only fair that we traded off nights for the 3AM feedings. So I totally get the joke, "Q: Why do Moms hold their babies on the left? A: To keep their right hand free for the remote."

Jessica said...

I'm a stay-at-home mom who exclusively formula fed her daughter and plans on exclusively formula feeding her soon-to-be born son. There is tremendous social pressure to breast-feed. I've even wondered if I'll love friends over it! For me, the choice was clear. I dreaded the idea of breastfeeding and it began to make me dread the birth of my daughter. When I decided to formula feed I felt such a weight lift.

One of the most important benefits to formula was that it allowed my husband to take a much more active role in infant care. He could feed her during the day and take night-time feedings. It was an important way for us to share parenting duties and for him to bond with our daughter!

Jessica said...

*lose friend over it. :)

Jessica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EDH said...

But never, never underestimate the long-term benefits of a good "motorboat" or tit fuck.

dbp said...

Does this mean that I now have to stop blaming my formula-using mom for me never becoming an astronaut or president?

Rusty said...

After I was sixteen or so I found it quite stimulating. So. Yes. There are defininately long term benefits.

Anglelyne said...

eric: On the other hand, one of my in laws children has had several problems because they leave them with the bottle and the milk just sits in the back of the babies mouth and causes the teeth to rot.

boinky: In the USA, the main advantage: fewer rotten teeth from bottle mouth.

There's an extremely simple solution to this ostensibly intractable problem of "bottle mouth". I've known some feisty babies in my day, but when push came to shove, I was always able to overpower the little buggers and take the bottle away from them. They don't do so well at sneaking a bottle when you're not looking, either.

Audacity17 said...

So, does this study nullify the theory of evolution, which states mutations are adapted through propagation because they allow one to survive change?

Harold said...

At points when my wife was breastfeeding, I'd get up and fetch the newborn, she'd take him and feed him, and hand him back, and I'd return him to the crib. At times, I'm certain she was not awake during the whole process.

Breastfeeding doesn't necessarily mean the new daddy ain't getting up.

Jessica said...

@Harold
But bottle-feeding does mean the Dad has many more meaningful opportunities to be involved in infant care.

Jamie McArdle said...

I breastfed each of our three for 2 years apiece. (That doesn't mean they took in no other nutrition for 2 years; it means they were not entirely off the sauce until they were 2 years old, but by the time they were a year old they were receiving most of their calories from solid food, and by the time they were 2, they were only taking a nip at bedtime or when they'd had a big boo-boo requiring quick comfort. I'd imagine this is the norm, at least in the US, rather than the image some may have of longterm breastfeeding as a child's main source of nutrition up until the minute he's fully weaned.) I myself was a bottle baby. We did the breastfeeding thing because it was easy (once the initial kinks were worked out), cheap, and couldn't be beat for convenience; we never expected our children to be smarter because of it.

Anecdotally, I'll agree that our kids were and are very healthy and in excellent height-weight proportion, but so were their dad, another bottle baby, and I as children. Also anecdotally but perhaps more tellingly, as the referenced study only deals with benefits to children, I will say I am positive that breastfeeding gave me many benefits both short- and long-term: easy child spacing insurance (I never liked birth control pills because of their side effects on me, so I've used other methods since college), better sleep, weight loss, awareness of what I was eating and drinking, and very nice cuddles with my babies. My husband, who stayed home for a year with the first and had to rely on my expressed milk (which was not in huge supply - I was a decent but not prolific producer) to feed our son, says that the experience of being a dad without an easy and limitless way to feed/comfort our child made him use his imagination a lot, and he and our oldest have a crazy strong bond that my husband attributes to the relationship he had to establish in that first year.

All these benefits are available to parents who choose the bottle, but they're not as relatively effortlessly achieved, I think (my husband and I are king and queen of so-so parenting). I strongly encourage breastfeeding for this reason alone - but YMMV.