Prolonged breastfeeding "may harm babies health"

Sarah - posted on 01/14/2011 ( 64 moms have responded )

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http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/healt...

Breastfeeding exclusively for six months may put babies off some foods and increase their risk of allergies, obesity and iron deficiency, an expert report reveals today.

The highly controversial study, published in the British Medical Journal, raises serious questions about the Government’s advice to hold off giving babies any solid food until they are six months old.

According to their research, the Who recommendation “rested largely” on a review of 16 studies, including seven from developing countries, where infants are at much higher risk of infection.

While this concluded babies just given breast milk for six months had fewer illnesses and experienced no growth problems, the experts say a review of another 33 studies found “no compelling evidence” against starting solids from four months onwards.

In fact, they say some research has shown purely breastfeeding for so long does not give infants all the nutrition they need. One US study found it leaves children at greater risk of anemia, which can permanently damage their development.

There is also mixed evidence on whether children who live on breastmilk for six months are at greater risk of allergies.

What do you all think?

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Kate CP - posted on 01/16/2011

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Well, admittedly, there are "healthier" ways to get the nutrients and calories into a person who needs to gain weight. But, a healthy amount of fat on a person's body is vital to their survival so any caloric intake is beneficial for some people. I can see where Julianne is coming from but I also understand what you're saying.

Sitting up is not a MANDATORY milestone (never said it was) I said it was IMPORTANT. Now, if you have a nutritionist or a child care specialist telling you to start solids early and you feel that information is appropriate and correct for your child then obviously you should start solids. But I feel that most people DON'T follow their own child's needs and try to start solids early out of some irrational notion that sooner is better or that it means their kid is more advanced. Many people start solids too early because their child "seems hungrier" and they ARE hungrier because of growth spurts. That doesn't mean they need solids it just means they need more breast milk or formula. I think guidelines are fine and dandy but people need to listen to their kids and take their cues from them.

Cassie - posted on 01/15/2011

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Maria, if you are able both physically and emotionally, breastfeeding is best.

This discussion is in regards to when to incorporate breastfeeding WITH solid food introduction not that breastfeeding is causing allergies.

[deleted account]

Besides, babies have natural iron stores in their body until 6-7months of age...thats why breast milk doesn't have high amounts of iron, and the iron in breast milk is more readily absorbed. Too much iron in formula is one of the main reasons colic is more common among ff compared to bf babies..



http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/Iron.ht...

Minnie - posted on 01/14/2011

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You know, I read a very similar article in the guardian last night about this same study and this is what was written:



The paper acknowledges that three of the four authors "have performed consultancy work and/or received research funding from companies manufacturing infant formulas and baby foods within the past three years".



http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2...



At any rate, I'm not a huge stickler for absolutely -no- solids prior to six months but I believe that -most- babies will be ready sometime in the middle of the first year. I think that signs of readiness should be more the indication of starting solids- and that is NOT "oh baby stared at me eating so he's ready."



Signs of readiness include: loss of tongue-thrust reflex, ability to sit unsupported and ability to not only pick up food, but move it to the mouth, chew it and then swallow most of what was put there.



Following those indications, my second did not begin solids until 10 months, of her own volition. She was never spoon fed.



For those of you concerned about anemia, current research shows that if the mother had adequate iron levels during pregnancy and if the cord was not prematurely cut that the baby's iron stores will be sufficient until around nine months.

ME - posted on 01/16/2011

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My daughter, who was exclusively breastfed until 7 months, eats whatever we give her, while my son, who started solids at 5 months eats almost nothing...studies like this are dangerous...all kids are different, and their mothers (and fathers) typically know them better than anyone else!

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Kim - posted on 01/16/2011

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I remember when my Nephews were born over 20 yrs ago, my SIL was told to exclusively breastfeed until they were 1. Then there were issues with the kids rejecting food and having trouble figuring out how to swallow. I started my son at 4 months, the Dr told me too, he was a big boy. Then with my daughter, 3 yrs later, the Dr said to wait until 6 months. She didn't want to eat anyway. She was very picky and pretty much only ate yogurt until she was a yr old, but she hasn't had any problems from it. My youngest it was 6 months then too, but I started her earlier. It can take so long to get them to actually eat, she was eating baby food regularly by 6 months. But she was a tall, skinny thing. Her weight was below the charts so it was good she was eating. All of my kids were given iron drops to prevent anemia though, poor kids, that stuff is nasty!!

Krista - posted on 01/16/2011

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I started my daughter on jar food when she was 4 months even though she was breastfed. I saw no harm in it, given that my son started jar food at 4 months as well and he's a FANTASTIC eater.
She gets rice cereal for breakfast, a half a jar of either vegetables or meat and fruit for lunch and the same for dinner as well as breastmilk. She's loving it and happy so I'm happy.

Melissa - posted on 01/16/2011

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I agree with Kate. theres no rush to start food. Wait til your baby is ready. give tastes but dont rush into strict set meals. They will let you know. Why irritate them if they dont need it? All it causes is severe constipation plus you have to start packing food bibs spoons etc whereever you go :) Solely breastf eeding/formula is usually much easier except wheres theres a reason for it or if baby is ready early

Nicole - posted on 01/16/2011

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I use baby-led weaning with my babies and they weren't ready for solids until they were older than 6 months. They are not picky eaters (not at all), they have never been iron deficient, do not have allergies, and are skinny/healthy sized children. My one child whom I did not practice baby-led weaning and introduced food early with has had severe allergies, though.

Minnie - posted on 01/16/2011

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Hehee, well, in Sherri's defense, she gets enough of her own posts royally picked- apart.



I've noticed that some have mentioned that early introduction of solids was necessary- but that they were formula-feeding their babies. That's a different ballpark.



In the case of breastfeeding, some mothers believe that if their babies cue to nurse more often that that is an indication of needing to start solids- but it's not. Infants will increase nursing frequency to temporarily increase milk production during a growth spurt. After the growth spurt the baby goes back to the regular amount of milk he or she needs- it's the composition of the milk that changes, whereas formula doesn't do this.

[deleted account]

Sometimes they are medically necessary, i just don't understand why they are not prescription based...

[deleted account]

mandy if they cant sit up properly their esophagus is not held open properly and the child can choke and die.







sherri, must you pick apart EVERYTHING i say in EVERY thread i comment on??? its starting to get annoying.



Synthetic vitamins and minerals DO put a strain on the filtration organs, its harder for your body to digest them. It is much better for your body to get these necessary vitamins and minerals from food. Most protein shakes ARE lose weight formulas and meal replacements.

Sherri - posted on 01/16/2011

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Kate my problem with what Julianne said is that she said they are bad for your body. She also lumped all protein shakes into one category. They are all not all designed to help people lose weight, they aren't all bad for you and sometimes they are required. She needs to be careful telling someone something that could be to the detriment of someones child.

Sherri - posted on 01/16/2011

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Well my son needed solids at 3 1/2 mo's he was intaking 56ozs of formula a day. He had to have the solids to slow down his caloric intake. He did amazing it is not a mandatory milestone, I am with Mandy. We were informed by a few different professionals that this is what needed to for him. He went on solids they just informed us to prop him up so he was still slightly elevated and once starting solids went from 56ozs of formula to the accepted 24ozs a day. What a world of difference.

Kate CP - posted on 01/16/2011

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Ensure and Carnation shakes are designed to promote weight gain. Other protein shakes such as slim fast and other smoothies is what Julianne was talking about.

Kate CP - posted on 01/16/2011

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Being able to sit up unassisted as a milestone for solid foods is so the baby doesn't choke on their food. There is a reason that's an important milestone to wait for.

Sherri - posted on 01/16/2011

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Funny Julianne since I need to give Carnation instant breakfast shakes to my 12yr old or ensure shakes (ultimately protein shakes) 2 times a day everyday. He needs to have the extra protein and vitamins in his diet and we were told to start adding these to his diet every single day. To help with his weight since he doesn't intake enough calories in a day and hasn't gained even 1pd in 4 yrs.

Melissa - posted on 01/16/2011

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Cassie - you know your baby best! if you dont feel shes ready then go with it. Being breast fed she should be having the food as wel by 6 months but she will manage all you can do is your best. babies can manage off just milk if they dont eat and she will start when shes ready. You can put some cereal in her bottle to try and get her used to different consistencies? Dont stress though

Melissa - posted on 01/16/2011

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Julianne - not necessarily true. many babies ar ready for solids before they can sit up. So many babies sit up way after 6 months. My daughter ant sit up. Shes 6 months. Shes ready. Her doctor told me to start cereal at her 4 month injections actually she was surprised i hadnt already started them and my child nurse said it is whenever I was ready. They dont have to meet all those miletones before solids. Thats BS. My first started at 3 months. Its good to get them used to tastes from 4 months then proper meals from 6 months. My daughter is 6 months in a week or so and she has 2 meals a day lunch and dinner and some days she eats alot othes she refuses I dont stress as shes stil little but being breast fed as well she does need the extra iron

Ez - posted on 01/16/2011

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Shannen, my friend's didn't sit up until 10 months, but was crawling and cruising like a bandit! It's weird how some kids skip a milestone lol.

[deleted account]

My son is 6 months old and crawling BUT he can't sit un-aided yet. He is ready for food. But according to signs i should look for he shouldn't have food yet.
Oh well i think i will stick with my mummy instinct it seems to work well for our family. and so far so good no problems.

Jackie - posted on 01/15/2011

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i dont like articles like this cuz there is always one person (usually a family member) who feels the need to tell the nursing mother about how a "better" way to feed her baby. I didnt give my kids any solids until they were 8 &10 months old, I quit nursing when my kids were 14 months old.

Erin - posted on 01/15/2011

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I agree that every baby develops differently. And to wait until the signs, that Julianne mentioned, are present. My son seemed to be ready at 4.5 months.I had already discussed it with his Dr. at his 4 month check up. She said if I thought he was ready to give it a try, and that I would know by that. He was ready. He isn't a picky eater. But that is my son, and I know that with my next child it could be completely different.

Becky - posted on 01/15/2011

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I think the study is a load of poop. Zach, who absolutely refused solids until he was 8 months old is now a far less picky eater than Cole, who started solids at 5 1/2 months. Neither have any allergies, and both are healthy - although I think Zach has the stronger immune system.
I am a bit skeptical about the whole delaying the introduction of foods to prevent allergies thing though. Seems to me, there are far more serious allergies now than there were years ago when our parents started feeding us cereal when we were 2 weeks old!

[deleted account]

not shure what to think. i was going to breast feed my baby but now im not shure what is best.

[deleted account]

protein shakes, contrary to popular belief, are bad for your body, synthetic vitamins are harder to digest and put a strain on filtration organs. Also with the ingredients in most, they have appetite suppressors because they are designed as a lose weight formula.

(i know you were joking...)

Cassie - posted on 01/15/2011

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well.. Kati, I was thinking of mixing my breastmilk with like a protein shake or something. Wouldn't that be better in a bottle than cereal??? haha

Rosie - posted on 01/15/2011

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if you're worried cassie you could always stick cereal in her bottle. (runs and waits for the implosion!! hehe!!)

[deleted account]

Oh i agree Emma, too much pressure to start solids. Every child is different and your suppose to wait until

1. Their tongue thrust reflex is gone.

2. They can sit and hold themselves upright.

3. They are not getting satisfied off of milk alone.

4. They ASK for food.

They say average of 6 months because that's usually when all of these things are done. AVERAGE not golden age you need to wait until and they start that day when they turn 6 months. I waited until 5 and a halfish months, because that's when she was ready, some people wait until 7-8 months. If your baby cant do all of those things its too early. If your baby is no longer thriving off of just milk, its time to eat. You would think it would be obvious...since every child develops differently in other ways, why not in starting food.

Rosie - posted on 01/15/2011

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i think you're doing the right thing for YOUR child cassie! if emma doesn't want it then she doesn't need it yet! :)

Stifler's - posted on 01/14/2011

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There is too much pressure to start solids. I never knew anything about it until CoM and people were like giving Logan chips and shit at 3 months and I was like stop it and they were like you should give him some rice cereal and he wasn't watching anyone eat or anything, by 5 months i gave in and he just wasn't ready and he'd spit it out and things would go nowhere but it was like KEEP PERSISTING HE NEEDS FOOD... when he didn't... it was stupid. I'm glad there are smart people out there :)

Tracie - posted on 01/14/2011

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seems ridiculous to me, I'd think a breastfeeding mother who ate a wide variety of foods WAS introducing new foods to the baby via the breastmilk!?? they do a new study every year for this or that and take back what was said last time... INTUITION ladies, thats what we mothers should live off :-)

[deleted account]

I think you are Cassie. Like I said, I've done it both ways. Early solids worked well w/ my girls, but NOT w/ my son. They are all healthy, happy, strong, smart, etc....

Cassie - posted on 01/14/2011

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If this is true, I'm doing my Emma a big disservice...

She's 6 1/2 months old, has tried avocado once last week but is still exclusively breastfed other than that one trial run. I'm trying to follow her cues and she has no interest or need for solids right now. I know it will take practice but she shoves it straight out. Everything in my mommy gut tells me she's not ready for solids and that I'm doing right by her.... Am I? I don't think there's really, truly a way to know...

Bonnie - posted on 01/14/2011

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This doesn't sound right to me. I thought I had been told that breast feeding helps avoid many possible allergies.

[deleted account]

its not prolonged breastfeeding, its not introducing foods, the headline is very misleading.

Amy - posted on 01/14/2011

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wow. what a bunch of crap. i have relatives who strictly bottle fed and they have ALL kinds of health issues. My son is almost 2 and getting his first cold and was breastfed until 16 months. yeah, his health is in serious jeopardy...... i don't buy it. It may not give kids nutrition they need IF mothers are severely malnutritioned themselves. only way i'd buy that. but then it should just be that mothers need to be sure and eat healthy to pass nutrients to baby when nursing...for however long.

Stifler's - posted on 01/14/2011

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I think this is hilarious. I think I'll be stickin to the whole signs that baby is ready for solids thing.

Lady Heather - posted on 01/14/2011

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This says two things to me -
1. Mother's nutrition is very important when breastfeeding. If mum doesn't have enough iron, neither will baby.
2. Take everything you are told with a grain of salt because there's probably some other study that says the complete opposite of what you're told somewhere. Where I live the government and nurses you see at checkups are very big on the 6 month rule. I always wondered what magical thing happened on my kid's six monthday to make it possible for her to eat. Ha. She seemed ready to me at 5.5 months, so that's when she started solids. And we didn't do any of the cereals or anything. Just fed her regular old food and she seems just fine to me.

Rosie - posted on 01/14/2011

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i've always thought that holding off till later could cause allergies as well. i've seen articles (can't find them now) that said that holding off on solids was because when people start solids the baby sometimes leans towards not eating as much breastmilk, and eventually the woman gives up cause her supply runs low. i personally think THAT is "why" the recommendation for holding off on solids until 6 months, so the woman doesn't wean before a year.

Sherri - posted on 01/14/2011

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Everyone resume doing and parenting as you were nothing has changed go with your gut and do what parents have been doing for thousands of years following your children's cues. You don't need a doctor or article to tell you when your child is ready trust me they will do that all on their own.

Laressa - posted on 01/14/2011

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Well it makes sense to me that a baby's tummy isn't ready to handle anything besides breast milk if possible. I personally think the age babies are ready for additional food varies. I really hated being looked down on for starting cereal after 4 months. I was told by an opionated older lady that my baby was going to have gluten allergies if I continued to give her rice cereal. Rice doesn't even have gluten. Duh! Just because her grandbaby didn't want anything to do with it doesn't mean that mine isn't begging to try real food. To me thats a readiness sign. I am all for breastfeeding but when a baby medically needs additional food varies. According to my personal opinion!!!! I know that sounds so scholarly, to base my children's diet on opinion. But hey, there's so much conflicting info out there how else are you ever going to sort thru it all? I just pick one that makes sense....

[deleted account]

My girls started eating solids at 3.5 months. They wanted it, were ready, and we never had any problems.



I started trying to feed my son solids at 5 months, but he wasn't ready for his first bite til 6 months. Even then, his interest was so random that he wasn't eating on a daily basis til around a year.



Based on my own personal 'scientific' research.... it depends on the kid and what works for one will not necessarily work for the other.



All 3 of my kids are quite healthy and strong and the only known allergy out of them is that the girls are allergic to Tide laundry soap. ;)

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/14/2011

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Things are going to constantly be questioned like this. There is no right way. All I can say is, we get our information...both sides, and use what works in accordance with our beliefs, and our families. The things our parents did with us, we would never do with our own children....how we raise our children, they will never do with our grandchildren. The fundementals will stick...but we can all find fault in every choice that is made.

Amanda - posted on 01/14/2011

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yeah i am iffy on this, and after reading Lisa's comment about another related article i would have to say this reminds me of the thread we just had about the Dr linking autism to vaccines and the patent he held! i tend to lean towards this article being crap. when breastfeeding you take your vitamins and you tend to make it a point to eat enough and to eat balanced meals to ensure your baby is getting what they need. also, some babies simply aren't ready for solids until well after 6 months, and some are ready at 4 months......

Isobel - posted on 01/14/2011

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I have always suspected that the avoidance of certain foods could be contributing to the allergy problem...which came first, the chicken or the egg?...I don't know

Shauna - posted on 01/14/2011

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I BF exculsivly and started my son on solids *cereal* at 3 1/2 months and veggies at 4 fruits 4 1/2. He still took the same amount of BM didnt hurt my production. And i paid for an allergy test last month b/c he was ready for table food and i wanted to rule out all allergies to go ahead with whatever. Allergy Free here.

Melissa - posted on 01/14/2011

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Im with you Katherine I take my vitamins every day because Im breast feeding. Id feel aweful if I didnt.

Tara - posted on 01/14/2011

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I think the study is messed up.
If a baby can not sit up by themselves, they are physically not ready for solid food, if they can not swallow solids without a lot of effort, they are not ready for solids.
Introducing solids too early can actually lead to a sensitivity if not an allergy in some children, not to mention all the digestive issues that can be present when introducing solids too early, constipation, diarrhea, gas, etc.
This won't change my opinion about bf'ing. I go by instinct. I know what to look for to determine if my kid is ready for solids, which is usually around 5-7 months. But I don't force feed my kids before that time.
They will let us know when they are ready.
It drives me nutty when I see a mom prop her non-sitting baby up in a high chair with pillows etc. then start forcing food into their mouth even if it just dribbles out and baby has no interest... To me it doesn't make sense biologically to feed solids to a baby who can not sit upright on their own, they will choke if they are not propped up, which to me says they are not biologically ready to accept solids into their digestive tract.
Another study will link early solids to early diabetes, obesity and immuno. problems. Another will link early solids to an increase in allergies etc.
I go by nature and by instinct. We are animals. I think like an animal when raising my children. It keeps things simple and species specific.

Sherri - posted on 01/14/2011

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I actually am going to say I love the article. I think sometimes parents get hung up on the exclusively bf'ing thing so much that they really miss signs that their baby needs more and should be on solids much sooner. Will this change most peoples parenting probably not but I also find most parents are doing the solids by 4-6mo's anyways.

Sarah - posted on 01/14/2011

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This is ridiculous! Almost every parent can tell when their baby is ready for solids! My daughter was ready at about 4 and a half months, others aren't ready til 7 months.. so what!

If the mother is eating right, and has good milk supply, there is no chance the baby is lacking nutrients by 6 months. As long as you wait til after 4 months so that digestive enzyme has formed then its okay! Babies can live on breast milk alone for a year! Not saying that's a good idea at all, but waiting til 6 months if the babies not ready is a perfectly normal and common thing to do. When babies start young, most of what you feed them they spit out anyway, its more just to get them used to it for later on.

Why don't these doctors spend their time finding a cure for cancer or something, rather than wasting it, picking at every little detail about feeding our kids! lol surely enough testing has been done by now! hahaha :)

Ez - posted on 01/14/2011

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I guess it's a question of how beneficial Exclusive BFing is. If solids are introduced at 4 or 5 months, the baby will still be receiving breastmilk. But if a baby is EBF, and I have heard of some who were never offered solids until after a year, that is where this 'study' (and I use that term loosely lol) may be relevant.

I just think it's a crap shoot really. Basing findings on research done in developing countries with poor nutrition is obviously going to skew the data.

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