Nav: Home

Babies fed directly from breast may be at less risk for ear infections

May 24, 2016

Feeding at the breast may be healthier than feeding pumped milk from a bottle for reducing the risk of ear infection, and feeding breast milk compared with formula may reduce the risk of diarrhea, according to a recent study by researchers at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

"We certainly don't want women to stop pumping because there are not adequate data or guidelines about whether pumped breast milk is an equivalent substitute for feeding at the breast, so more research needs to be done," said Sarah Keim, PhD, senior author of the study and principal investigator in the Center for Biobehavioral Health in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's.

A total of 491 mothers completed surveys as part of the study, published last week in the Journal of Pediatrics. Mothers who stated their intent to bottle-feed exclusively were not included in the study. In the remaining surveys, three out of four women used some combination of feeding from the breast, pumped milk and formula in the first 12 months of their children's lives.

After accounting for demographic and other related factors, researchers found that one month of feeding at the breast was associated with a 4 percent reduction in the odds of ear infection, and they found a 17 percent reduction in the odds for infants fed at the breast for six months of infancy Among infants who were fed only breast milk, either at the breast and/or pumped breast milk from a bottle, for the first six months, the odds of experiencing an ear infection increased by approximately 14 percent for infants fed pumped milk for 1 month and by 115 percent for infants fed with pumped milk for 6 months.

"While it is not completely clear why ear infections may be related to bottle feeding, it could be because bottles can create a negative pressure during feeding. This negative pressure is then transferred from the bottle to the middle ear of the infant during feedings, which may precipitate ear infections," explained Dr. Keim.

Infants fed with breast milk by either mode for six months had an approximately 30 percent reduced risk of diarrhea. Diarrhea risk was reduced by 25 percent for infants fed any breast milk for six months, and by 26 percent for infants fed at the breast for 6 months, while infants fed formula for 6 months had a 34% increased risk of experiencing diarrhea.

According to the researchers, this finding suggests that the substance fed, rather than the mode of feeding, may underlie differences in risk of diarrhea.

"This research begins to identify unique and separate associations of substance fed and mode of breast milk delivery, and demonstrates the importance of exploring these distinctive exposures in infant feeding research," said Kelly McNamara Boone, co-author on the study.

In addition to identifying the distinct contributions of both the substance fed and the mode of breast milk delivery to infant health, the study demonstrated large socioeconomic differences in feeding patterns. Mothers who fed their infants breast milk only were of greater socioeconomic status than those who fed their infants formula. Women who only used bottles (containing breast milk and/or formula) to feed their infants were of lower socioeconomic status than those who fed their infants at the breast.

"This finding is consistent with previous research that shows positive associations between socioeconomic status and breastfeeding. Initiation and duration of breastfeeding may be explained by health care and information resources available to and accessed by mothers of greater socioeconomic status," said Dr. Keim.
-end-


Nationwide Children's Hospital

Related Breast Milk Articles:

Breast milk appears to aid white matter microstructural organization in preemies
To the growing list of reasons why mothers should consider breast-feeding infants, add another: Critical white matter structures in the brains of babies who are born so prematurely that they weigh less than 1,500 grams develop more robustly when their mothers breast-feed them, compared with preemie peers who are fed formula.
How a beneficial gut microbe adapted to breast milk
Breast milk provides vital nutrients not only to infants, but also to beneficial microbes that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract.
From mother to baby: 'Secondhand sugars' can pass through breast milk
Add breast milk to the list of foods and beverages that contain fructose, a sweetener linked to health issues ranging from obesity to diabetes.
Concentrating milk at the farm does not harm milk quality
Together with Arla Foods, Aarhus University has examined several aspects of concentrating the milk at the farm.
Study looks at how changes in maternal diet impact human milk oligosaccharides and the milk microbiome
In a study to be presented Thursday, Jan. 26, in the oral plenary session at 1:15 p.m.
Testing breast milk for cannabinoids
With the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana spreading across the country, the drug's use is reportedly increasing among pregnant women.
Breast milk protein safely reduces hospital infections in preemies
Responding to a call from the American Academy of Pediatrics to reduce hospital-acquired infections in neonatal intensive care units across the country, researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and Sinclair School of Nursing have found a protein in breast milk to be a safe and efficient solution.
Breast milk sugar may protect babies against deadly infection
A type of sugar found naturally in some women's breast milk may protect newborn babies from infection with a potentially life threatening bacterium called Group B streptococcus, according to a new study from Imperial College London.
New method opens up the possibility of customizing breast milk for premature children
There is a difference between breast milk from women who give birth prematurely and from women who give birth to full-term babies.
Protein in breast milk reduces infection risk in premature infants
Full-term babies receive natural protection from their mothers that helps them fight off dangerous infections.

Related Breast Milk Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...