independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Breast Vs bottle

Picture: Thinkstock

When it comes to a wailing newborn in the middle of the night, desperate mums will often turn to their mothers or mothers-in-law for the voice of experience. But if mum's advice is to abandon the breast and give the baby the bottle, does she really know best?

Proponents of breast feeding say no, but a new US study that tracked 1,200 babies from birth to the age of three has found that breastfed babies were more likely to wake up at night.

Marsha Weinraub, professor of psychology at Temple University, also looked at other research and found an association between breastfeeding and more night wakings.

This is just the latest in a seemingly never ending avalanche of studies on breast versus bottle feeding.

When it comes to breastfeeding, Ireland lags behind its European counterparts with just over half of babies born here breastfed in comparison to four-fifths in the UK.

Across Europe an average of nine out of 10 babies are breastfed.

Siobhan Hourigan, the National Breastfeeding co-ordinator with the HSE (www.breastfeeding.ie), believes that countries where the rates are higher are where information and skills are being passed from one generation to the next.

"We have missed about two generations of breastfeeding mums, so information such as how to latch a baby on, or knowing when the baby is feeding enough, are missing so support must come from outside, from other agencies."

And she pointed to a 2002 study that found that exclusive breastfeeding actually improved the sleep of the mother.

As part of the HSE's breast feeding strategy, pregnant mums are being encouraged to link in with breastfeeding support groups so they can access the help.

"There is so much information out there but we need to be clear about the importance of breastfeeding so women can make an informed choice," she said.

Irish Independent

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