Moms will continue to debate how to best nourish their babies, but those who choose breastfeeding tend to have a stronger argument. Study after study has found many benefits to breastfeeding, including boosting a baby's immune system and increasing IQ. Recent research, however, could debunk the theory that breasts beat bottles.
A new study, conducted at Ohio State University, analyzed the medical data of 1,773 sibling pairs where at least one child was breastfed and at least one child was not. Specifically, they looked into the physical and behavioral issues associated with feeding methods. These included body mass index, obesity, asthma, hyperactivity, parental attachment, behavior, achievement in vocabulary, reading recognition, math, intelligence, and scholastic competence. The researchers found that breastfed babies had lower instances of obesity and hyperactivity issues as well as better math, reading, and vocabulary skills, and overall scholastic competence. However, when researchers compared this info to that of their bottle-fed siblings, they did not notice a statistically significant difference.
While many studies have compared breastfeeding with bottle feeding, this is one of the first to compare siblings who were fed differently. In doing so, researchers eliminated other factors that can affect physical and behavioral issues, like race and economic status. But in order to change several decades of thought, significantly more research will have to be done.