Monday, 25 February 2013

Formula Feeding and Obesity

A little while ago I posted an article titled, ‘It’s Just Baby Fat’, in which I ridiculed a grotesque toy doll that came armed with a toy bottle. I linked the baby’s obese frame with the suggestion that it was formula fed. 

The response to this post was overwhelmingly one of contemptuous anger (really? One of my posts?! Never!)

Likewise, this mock health advertisement which I posted on The Alpha Parent Facebook page was greeted with similar disdain:

So I’d like to add some facts and stats to support my ‘formula fed babies as fatties’ stance:

Here's the deal: during the first 6 to 8 weeks of life there is little difference in growth (gain in weight and length) between breast- and formula-fed babies. However, from about 2 months of age formula-fed infants gain weight and length more rapidly than breast-fed infants (Ziegler 2006Singhal 2007; Rebhan 2009Larnkjaer et al 2009Durmuş et al 2011Rose et al 2012). Numerous studies have shown that by the end of the first year breastfed babies are leaner than formula-fed babies (Lande et al 2005Tantracheewathorn 2005Oddy et al 2006; Scholtens 2008Stuebe 2009; Van Rossem 2011Mindru and Moraru 2012Arenz et al 2004; Mayer-Davis et al 2006; Plagemann and Harder 2011). Scientists suggest that the rapid weight gain among formula fed babies likely represents fat mass gain (Wells et al.,2007; Karaolis-Danckert et al., 2006).

Now, you’ve no doubt heard the DFF (Defensive Formula Feeder) often-regurgitated defence to these statistics: “Line up some school kids and you won’t be able to tell whose been breastfed and whose been formula-fed”. However, I beg to differ - we can make a pretty good bet, and science agrees. In a 2008 study, researchers looked at school entry data of 14,412 children aged 4.5–7 years in southern Germany. After adjusting for a large number of potential confounding variables, mean BMI was significantly reduced in children who had been breastfed versus the formula-fed (Beyerlein et al 2008). Another, even more recent study, showed that the effects of prior breastfeeding on protecting from obesity were particularly significant at ages 6 to 13 years (Crume et al 2012). Similar results were reported from 2 to 14 year old children in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (Li et al 2005).

So formula fed babies *are* fatties, not just now, but throughout life. Why?

There are several reasons why formula feeding is a recipe for obesity.

Reason #1 Species Specific

Milk is species specific. Breastmilk is lower in energy and protein and higher in fat than commercial formulas (see the table below). The protein intake of breastfed babies decreases with age and closely matches the requirements for protein during the early months of life, whereas the protein intake of formula-fed infants exceeds requirements after the first 1-2 months of life (Ziegler 2006). The omega 6/omega 3 ratio of formula also stimulates the growth of fat cells (Ailhaud et al., 2006). This is because cow’s milk (the major component in formula) is designed to build body mass. It encourages weight gain. This makes sense for an animal that will gain so much weight in its first year of life. The human growth rate, for example, is such that a newborn will double his weight in about 180 days, while a calf accomplishes this in only 47 days.

In other words, the composition of formula encourages too many fat cells to be produced (Hester et al 2012).  “Insulin-mediated glucose utilization shifts from skeletal muscle to fatty tissue” (Manco et al., 2011). This has “lasting effects on body composition” (Harvey et al., 2007). When extra fat cells are laid down, so the theory goes, they persist into adulthood where they can easily be filled with fat again, causing adult obesity (Taveras et al 2009). This explains why non-breastfed babies have a higher incident of glucose intolerance at 9.5 years (Veena et al 2011). 

Breastfeeding, on the other hand, has a protective effect on obesity by inducing lower plasma insulin levels, thereby decreasing fat storage and preventing excessive early adipocyte (fatty tissue) development (Oddy 2012).

Table from (Thompson 2012).

When you look at the above table, it's easy to become alarmed at the higher fat content of breastmilk - however, don't be fooled. The fat in breastmilk contains a completely different
concentration of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (Shahkhalili et al., 2011). Also, when solids are introduced the fat composition changes dramatically. Intakes decline from around 50% of total energy in breastmilk to 30–35% of total energy (Thompson 2012).

Reason #2 Natural Vs Synthetic:

It should come as no surprise that whether your baby derives nourishment from a natural or synthetic source will impact on the way their body behaves. Unlike formula, breastmilk is alive and contains hundreds of non-nutritive components which studies have agreed “influence short and long-term patterns of growth through their regulation of nutrient use and metabolism” (Hamosh, 2001). For instance, did you know that the higher levels of LCPUFAs (long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids) in breastmilk are associated with lower glucose levels in the skeletal muscle and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory cells (Das, 2002). Also, breast milk contains endocannabinoids! Nope, you didn't start hallucinating. This lactogen, which can cause the munchies (presumably to entice babies to feed), also regulates appetite, making them feel very full at the end of a feed. Consequently, they don't over-eat (Williams 2013). Formula lacks these compounds. What's more, longer durations and exclusivity of breastfeeding enhance these effects in a dose–response manner (Harder et al., 2005) with the lowest risk seen among those breastfed longest without formula supplementation (Arenz et al., 2004). Researchers have suggested that this link between the fatty acid profile of breastmilk and inflammation may be particularly important given the well-established links between systemic inflammation and the development of obesity (Thompson 2012Dandona et al., 2004; Yudkin, 2007).

Another positive of being natural is that “unlike formula, breastmilk composition varies between mothers, over the course of lactation, and during feeds, providing a mechanism through which the baby’s energy needs and feeding behaviors, such as frequency and duration of feeds, can directly influence weight gain during on-demand breastfeeding” (Thompson 2012). Your baby controls the quantity and consistency of their milk intake and your body provides a unique blend of micronutrients tailed specifically to your baby’s requirements. Under such conditions, it’s not hard to see why obesity is unlikely in breastfed babies.

Consider also that breast milk changes in composition during the feed (aka the fore/hind milk dichotomy). This mechanism actually helps a baby to know when he has had enough. Depending on how hungry he is the baby can choose to take in more or less of the rich hind milk, which comes at the end of the feed.

Reason #3 Mode of Delivery

This is perhaps the most commonly cited explanation for formula-fed babies proneness to obesity. Simply: breastfeeding puts your baby in the driving seat. He has full control over the amount of milk he takes (Fisher et al., 2000). Because he has to work hard to get the milk, he will stop when he has had enough. Consequently his stomach does not become overstretched.

Breastfeeding also promotes maternal feeding styles that are less controlling and more responsive to infant cues of hunger and satiety, thereby allowing infants greater self-regulation of energy intake (Taveras 2006). The contrary is true of formula fed babies, who are more prone to over-feeding and thus, to stomach-stretching (Ruowei Li et al 2012Brown and Lee 2012Fein and Grummer-Strawn 2010). For instance, six-week-old formula-fed infants consume 20–30% higher volumes per feed and, by 4 months, have fewer yet much larger feeds (Sievers et al., 2002). Differences in the volume consumed and the higher energy density of formula contribute to a whopping 15–23% higher total energy intake in formula-fed infants from 3 to 18 months (Thompson 2012). When a baby’s stomach is overstretched regularly, he becomes accustomed to this ‘full feeling’. He then expects this feeling each time he feeds and this often becomes the habit for life, leading to overeating (Lim 2009).

Research has shown that differences in intake between breast and formula fed babies persist well after solid foods are introduced (Dewey, 2009). Each additional 100 kcal/day that formula fed babies consume at 4 months is associated with 46% higher odds of them becoming overweight at 3 years and 25% higher odds at 5 years (Ong et al., 2006). These facts add credence to the hypothesis that breastfed babies better match intake to energy needs while their formula fed counterparts seem unable to compensate for the intake of solids with lower formula intake (Wasser et al., 2011).

Reason #4 Leptin and Ghrelin

Interestingly, researchers have asserted that: “The presence of hormonal differences between breast- and formula-fed infants provides evidence that feeding type has a metabolic effect in infants” (Thompson 2012). Let's explore this statement further.

The hormonal composition of breastmilk plays an important role in the neural programming of appetite, not just in short-term regulation of infant weight gain, but also in long-term programming of the complex pathways linking the hypothalamus, gastrointestinal tract, and fatty tissues (Agostini, 2005; Savino et al., 2009; Bartok and Ventura, 2009).

Table from (Thompson 2012).

The hormones Leptin and Ghrelin are key players in ‘programming’ the human appetite and nutritional preferences. Leptin is the hormone responsible for making us feel full. The levels of leptin in breastmilk become more plentiful as the baby reaches the rich hindmilk (Savino et al., 2009). When ingested during the suckling period Leptin is absorbed by the baby's immature stomach exerting certain biological effects. These include: facilitating the normal maturation of tissues and signalling pathways involved in metabolic processes; programing appetite by providing hunger and satiety cues; discouraging excessive fat storage; and improvement in insulin sensitivity (Agostoni 2005Savino and Liguori 2006Palou and Picó 2009Vickers and Sloboda 2012Thompson 2012).

The other hormone in this duo - Ghrelin - is produced by the stomach and functions as a hunger signal. Formula fed babies have higher ghrelin levels which links formula feeding to increased appetite. (Savino et al., 2009).

These findings are in line with other studies which maintain that neonatal nutrition influences endocrinology more readily than genetics (Zegher et al 2012).

On that note, we move onto the cousin of Leptin and Ghrelin...

Reason #5 Growth Hormone

It’s time for a mini science lesson.

Growth hormone is basically the hormone that controls when your adipose (fat) tissues release fatty acids to be metabolized by the rest of your body. A person with low growth hormone has a ‘low metabolism’ as it is understood in the popular sense (i.e. the common rant: “I’m fat because I have a low metabolism”). The inverse is also true: high levels of growth hormone lead to an increased basal metabolic rate (Liu et al 2007). 

So if growth hormone controls the release of fat from your fat tissues, what controls the release of growth hormone? My friends, let me introduce you to IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor 1), a group of hormones in the blood that come from the liver. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, nutrition is the strongest drive of this system, and throughout the whole of evolution IGFs have been the mediators of the control of tissue growth in relation to how much nutrition you have.

Okay, but where do formula fed babies come into this?

Higher basal insulin levels and prolonged insulin response accompany formula-feeding as early as the first week of life (Lucas et al., 1981). The higher protein content of formula – as much as 50–80% higher than in breastmilk - drives up the baby’s IGF-1 secretion (Hoppe et al., 2004Chellakooty et al 2006Ziegler 2006Koletzko et al 2009Larnkjaer et al 2009), as illustrated in this chart:

However this increase of IGF-1 has a dramatic consequence. It re-sets the pituitary so that 7 years later children who were formula fed have a lower IGF-1 level, as illustrated here:

Those with a low IGF-1 have the highest BMI (Body Mass Index) many, many years later. In other words, their growth hormone levels are depressed (Scacchi et al 1999).

Conversely, as you can see in the above charts, breastfed babies have lower levels of IGF as babies, but at 7 to 8 years they have higher levels of IGF-1 (Martin et al 2005; Savino and Lupica 2006). This suggests that during the breastfeeding period, the lower IGF-1 levels have reset the hypothalamic/pituitary axis to a higher responsiveness to increased growth hormone as an inference (Larnkjaer et al 2009Michaelsen et al 2012).

These findings are in line with other studies which maintain that being breastfed for between 13 and 25 weeks is associated with a 38 percent reduction in the risk of obesity at nine-years of age, while being breastfed for 26 weeks or more is associated with a 51 percent reduction in the risk of obesity at nine-years of age (McCrory and Layte 2012; Gillman et al 2001Mayer-Davis et al 2006Weyermann et al 2006Abraham et al 2012).

What About Environment?

Everything I have discussed above is married with the environment in which it occurs - and that environment is usually one of abundant over-nutrition. Formula fed babies have the worst of both worlds. They are physiologically disadvantaged due to all the factors explored above, and they are environmentally disadvantaged by a culture which is out of sync with nutritional health.

During infancy, babies' bodies try to adapt to their environment. The endocrine system is part of that adaptation. Assume you are a formula fed baby. If you are trying to adapt to an environment of high protein intake (formula) that is driving your IGF-1, your IGF-I levels will feed back and suppress the central control, re-setting this control under the assumption that you will always have a high protein intake. So you come out of this high protein exposure with a pituitary that has been re-set down.

With all these factors in mind, we see how formula fed babies have the odds stacked against them from the start. However when studies are published which show that feeding a human infant with artificially modified bovine milk (i.e. formula) leads to obesity, formula feeders are up in arms. “Correlation does not equal causation!” they chant. This is a lazy get-out clause used to denounce scientific evidence. The dialogue often goes like this:

Science: "Formula feeding increases a child's risk of becoming obese".
Formula feeder: "No. My child was formula fed and they're not fat".
Science: "Scientific studies have shown that children who were formula fed are statistically more likely to become obese. The increase in formula use correlates with the parallel increase in obesity".
Formula feeder: "It's not formula feeding that is responsible for the rise in obesity - it's people eating too much fattening food!"
Science: (Trump card time) "Formula feeding manipulates a baby's biological makeup, priming their body's receptiveness to putting on weight."

So yes, whilst it is technically the consumption of fattening food that causes an individual to become obese - it is the way their body craves the food and then processes it, that leads to this obesity. These mechanisms are set in infancy. In other words, formula feeding provokes long-term vulnerability to obesity, not only by shaping eating behaviours and responses to satiety cues, but also through hormonal programming.

Indeed, these metabolic and physiological processes have a more central role in obesity than social trends. Whilst it’s true that breastfeeding mothers are statistically more likely to be higher educated, afford healthier food, and make better food choices for their families - these factors don’t negate the bioactive factors inherent in breast and formula feeding. In light of the scientific evidence it is impossible to deny the dynamic interplay of groups of hormones with cellular chemistry, protein composition and appetite regulation mechanisms, all of which expose the true nature of formula feeding as an instrument of sabotage in the fight against obesity.

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Regina said...

I get lots of comments about how "skinny" my 5 breastfed babies (well, 4 kids and a baby) are. My pediatrician said it best. "It's not they that they are skinny. They are normal. It's just that a large percentage of children are obese now." I'll take healthy kids any day.

Megan Heimer, NHE, N.D., J.D. said...

Great article - very factual and accurate. Blog on :)

Rebecca Hughes Parker said...

Love the end especially with the dialogue. (My 8 year old twins are skinny and they had a good deal of formula; my 2 year old is quite fat at this point and was exclusively breastfed for 18 months, never had any formula - umm, I still believe in science!)
I was wondering if you had response to Hanna Rosin's "The Case Against Breastfeeding" 2009 article on the blog? She claims that the science only backs a marginal increase in protection against intestinal ailments.

stylinger84 said...

I often get comments about my "long and lean" 6 month old exclusively breast fed daughter. While she does seem to have very long legs right from the beginning, she seems just "normal" size to me. Hanging out around the 25th percentile size in weight, it is more on the smaller size, but I know that the charts are skewed these days because of all the forumla fed babies. Great blogs - keep it up!

Yolande Clark said...

Hi, great blog. I personally believe quite strongly that babies who are breastfed are at a lesser risk for all kinds of addictive behaviours, not simply overeating, thanks to the breastfeeding *relationship*. Of course, there is little scientific evidence to support this, but I think most exclusively-breastfeeding mothers would agree that for the first 8 months, breastfeeding is not only food, but is foundational to the baby's entire existence and context in the world. The messages that a child receives, about nourishment and love and agency and power and their connection to other human beings is very different, I think, when that child is fed an industrial concoction through a fake plastic nipple, versus the all-encompassing push/pull, give/take, full-body/mind/heart/soul experience of the breastfeeding mother-baby. Anyway. Love your work, my blog is

Kade Storm said...


So for someone who was formula fed, and let's assume, grew up with depressed IGF-1 levels. Wouldn't the body eventually adapt back?

If not, then couldn't the individual consume a slightly unconventional high protein diet to compensate?

Alpha Parent said...

The individual could consume an atkins-style diet yes, but that itself has health risks. Far better to have a body that responds to food as nature intended. Perhaps science will at some point develop a treatment which can reprogram the IGF-1 axis for those people who were formula fed.

Kade Storm said...


Although, going back to the case of someone who might already be in such situation, I think that a more reasonable compromise could be made with the Atkins-style approach. One could consume a high carbohydrate diet with a higher protein ratio not all that different from what Body Builders use to boost their IGF-1 levels.

Of course, there is always paranoia about using external means to tamper with the body's basal IGF-1 levels and as a growth hormone it is associated with diseases as well. However, from the looks of things, if a certain dietary factor (e.g. formula milk) compromises the IGF-1 homeostasis/axis, then to maintain those levels, one would have to continue on with similar dietary food choices that mimic the nutrient ratio of formula milk. Just a thought experiment.

Alicia Dermer, MD, FABM, IBCLC said...

Excellent article overall. Just one detail that bothered me. In explaining why babies take more milk from bottles than from the breast, you say: "Because he has to work hard to get the milk, he will stop when he has had enough." This perpetuates the misconception that bottles are "easier" for babies. Breastfed babies don't have to work hard to get the milk, especially if we stop putting barriers in their way of learning to breastfeed properly. In fact, when a baby is supported and assisted to nurse effectively, breastfeeding is easy, because it's what the baby was designed to do. There are two differences between bottle-feeding and breastfeeding which are relevant to this discussion. First of all, the baby has to suck for a while to get the let-down (otherwise known as the milk-ejection reflex or MER,) and there are actually a few MER's throughout the feed, which Dr. Hartmann demonstrated are the only times when the baby actually is drinking milk. Consequently, there are periods during the feed when the baby sucks less vigorously or rests a bit between the more active periods of sucking with each MER. The flow during breastfeeds varies because of these episodic MER's. Secondly, the baby is the one who is in control of the feed, i.e. the baby's appetite dictates how much milk the baby takes. These are two main reasons why a breastfed baby takes in just the right amount of milk while bottle-feeding babies take in more milk than they need. The bottle drips milk into the back of the baby's throat, requiring the baby to keep swallowing or choke. Furthermore, the bottle provides a constant flow of milk, not allowing the baby to take the necessary breaks in the feed which the baby needs for self-regulation of the feeding. Bottles are actually harder for babies, even stressful because of this "force-feeding" that bottles are causing. Babies ultimately adapt and are not stressed by the bottle-feeds, but bottle-feeding required them to adapt, and they are then (as you mentioned) used to larger volumes of milk in their stomachs. The effect occurs to some extent with mother's milk in the bottle as well, unfortunately. However, being breastfed and getting bottles of mother's milk in day care is still way better for baby than formula feeding.

Janine Fowler said...

As someone who finds chubby babies especially cute, I felt lucky when our exclusively breastfed son ended up in the 95% for weight. Our pedi said she would have been worried if he were formula fed, but being boob-only she wasn't concerned.

I can understand parents' reluctance to admit that their choices are damaging to their children in any way, but it is so maddening when people use the "My child had formula and is perfectly fine" argument.

It is also frustrating when smaller breastfed babies are treated as unhealthy simply for being small. I know a couple exclusively breastfed babies who are below 20% for weight and their doctors are all so pushy about making them gain weight. I think they're just so used to seeing huge formula-fed babes all day!

Becky Jorgensen said...

As a mother of four girls, all who were fed differently. One breastfed till she was 13 months, another till she was 6 months, another till 8 months, and the last till she was 3 months. What does that say for me? That I am an uneducated Mother? That I don't know how to make good choices for my family? This has got to be the most ignorant article I have ever read on breastfeeding.I was a better mother to my girls with my last child because I chose to formula feed. I wouldn't change a thing. My children are healthy and perfect in size. Yes breastfeeding is amazing and natural. I wish I was able to do it for all my children their entire first year, but I couldn't. To be honest, I hated nursing with a passion. I had clogged milk ducts and infections all the time due to the amount I was able to produce. I felt like a cow. I had to pump only with my last two and that got old real quick. So I chose formula. Formula is made to be a substitute for breast milk. Obviously it can't be exact, but it's pretty dang close. I have a sister who couldn't breast feed her last child due to allergies. Does that make her uneducated as well? Or the friend who was so uncomfortable with it. I have a few friends who felt that way. They are both very educated women. Shouldn't a mother be able to make the right decision for their child with out be ridiculed by women like you. If it makes them a better parent and helps them bond, does it make it so wrong? I wish people like you weren't so close minded. The fact that formula causes obesity is a bunch of horse crap. How about when you child starts eating solids and all you feed them is crap. Then Id say you are responsible for the obesity in your child. Worry about how you raise your child instead of how others raise theirs. Thou shall not judge right? Just sayin...

Rebecca Mercado said...

Oh wow. This is not a judgement but education on what is nutritionally better for humans! Just as they are guidelines for adults on what foods to eat and how much exercise needed for optimal health. Or do those guidelines offend you too? We all have choices to make and the better informed we are to make them should be appeciated.

Amanda Reesor said...

I wish lazy parenting was also brought up.
Kids may have a risk of being overweight if fed formula.
I also have a risk of getting hit by a bug walking down the street.
Its a risk that can happen BUT it isnt a guarantee it WILL happen.
anti formula and anti respect how others live type folk seem pretty hung up on that.
Also to keep repeating that those who use formula should be educated on their choice is very ignorant. Please ditch such stereotypes. I formula fed all our kids. Im also very educated and work in a hospital. Dont assume all formula users are grade school drop outs.
Kids also are not playing outside anymore. They go to school all day snd sit with reduced gym classes and extra curricular activities. They're parent or parents have to work multiple jobs to live and cant afford sports.
Kids are to fend for themselves most of the time for meals that are cooked via microwaves and processed beyond belief.
They sit on their asses playing xbox or games on cell phones for hours a day.

Kids aren't just fat cuz for 10-12 months of their lives they were formula fed. Kids are fat due to shit parenting choices.
But humans never blame themselves as its easier to blame something that cant fight back.

Don't like formula fine don't use it. But don't act high and mighty to those who do.
All kids have a risk to be obese.
There are more stressed out people in this world who take antidepressants which as a population increases obesity risk. Kids are diagnosed and medicated uncontrollably which increases risk too.
If only such educational blogs were less bias and preachy maybe there would be more empathy and compassion instead of judgement and stigma on this topic.
No one I know argues a boob isnt the best for infants but this article is one of the worst bf vs ff ive seen in a while.

Elisa Anthony said...

Why are you on this site? How educated are you if you cant finish a sentence?

People do what they need to do, what they believe is best for their children. Unless they are selfish, parents do what they do because that's how they see fit to raise their children in this society. Breastfeeding negates the need for many drugs, because it encourages parents to be parents and not just babysitters.

I work FT. I attend school FT, pursuing my Masters. I am also the sole provider for our small family, and have exclusively BF not because of the benefits... I found out about those after, but because I am poor. People who are uneducated, may be unaware of the choices they are unintentionally making. And pushy nurses, doctors, Govts (on the accounts of US standard of WIC) and family members will tell them that breastfeeding is horrible, and not needed.

The items on this site as a resource are truly informative, and cited. Both sides are represented, with pictures, and unfortunately, xbox play, will not make you obese. Its eating junk, drinking soda, and any performance enhancing item that is pushed because its cheap and fashionable. Latchkey Kids are obese because parents aren't around to TEACH.

Being Poor, and growing up POOR, I have found that it is really hard to get nutrient rich food for the same cost as a bag of chips. None of my 4 siblings are obese, we played a ton of video games growing up. I was breast fed, my siblings were not. Where is your argument Amanda? Are you ashamed that you were unwilling to breastfeed, and in doing so lined the pockets of some conglomerate who could give a care about your children? I cant afford to, and now that I am educated on the apparent war between the two, I never will.
On that site, one of the reasons, is not enough activity, another is to much sugary foods. Another reason is not enough breastfeeding support. Its linked as cited above by the Centers of Disease Control.

Amanda, from your response it sounds like you may be one of those judgemental types. Who believes that they are better than everyone else. Looking down on those who play video games, or write blogs. Anyone can get a job in a hospital, its just a job. Please get off of your perch, and look around. We are all doing the best we can with what we have.

Just so you know, Not all kids are at risk to be obese. Obesity is not a disease. Thyroid issues are. Obesity is a habit that is formed. Habits are formed early in life, and by watching others around us. (smoking, looking down in elevators, etc...)

vn said...

Glad to see circle jerks are not gender specific. Statistical inference is tricky if at all possible, but I'm sure you're right. After all, you seem to be :)

jessawyer said...

Posts such as this frustrate me. It is one thing to objectively display factual information about the differences between breast and bottle feeding. But to display information in a light where mothers should feel ashamed to bottle feed their children is just unacceptable. I am bottle feeding my infant, not because I just choose to not want to breast feed, but because I take medicine that is potentially harmful to my child.
For those of us who don't have a choice but to bottle feed, you should feel ashamed of yourself for writing an extended post to essentially make us feel even guiltier and present an already doomed situation for the future of our children when we try to nourish them and keep them healthy and fed with the best option available to us.
I would encourage you to consider this scenario before being so condescending in the future.

Christa Sabin said...

I have only breastfeed all three of my children, and all three have been 'fat' as babies. I was always self-conscious about it.. But they thinned out by the time they were 1 1/2, to the point of be slender. I disagree with this article, because I have seen fat breastfeed and fat formula fed babies. I believe breast is best, but this article made me feel I was doing something wrong, because my babies were all 'fat'. Plus, you are trying to make the women who formula feed feel bad. Why don't you just stop JUDGING PEOPLE? Who made you the Queen of Everything? Didn't you know that judging people into changing never works well? And those who have 'skinny' babies, does not mean you are 'better'. My childs Doctor never once said my baby was unhealthy or overweight.

Me said...

It makes no sense to feel guilt for not breastfeeding if you had no choice, it makes sense to feel anger and concern. Formula should be better, not cheap and nasty, especially as the vast majority of our population has formula at some point.These facts are not harmful to mothers and babies; they arm you with information which can be used to help make you family healthier weather you breastfed or not.

roy Tira said...

I breastfed both my girls 3yrs. What puzzle me is that you would spent this much time telling other women how horrible or uneducated they are for making choices that are different from yours… It doesn't concern me in the sense that my kids never had an ounce of formula in their lives, I just can't imagine how bad every FF mother must feel after reading your blog… Hint, you do not intice people to make different choices by shaming them!

JJ From Jersey said...

I had flat nipples when my daughter was born and had I really hard time with breastfeeding, but I was determined and vowed never to use formula (after seeing the ingredients). I initially pumped and bottle fed until my daughter could properly latch on. I am so glad I did not formula feed, especially when on a recent trip back to Europe, I saw a three month old that looked like she was 8 months old. In speaking with the mum she noted that she formula fed. In Europe, breastfeeding is strongly encouraged and culturally supported. Although American I had the opportunity to grow up oversees, and can see the difference. Now I understand there are circumstances that do not allow for breastfeeding, but as noted in a comment above my friend didn't breastfeeding because it's uncomfortable. Are you kidding me here!?! Since when is being a parent supposed to be a convenience and comfortable? I think that's just plain selfish. And finally, I am not sure what this has to do with being's common sense, breast milk= natural and formula = chemicals. Not being judgmental here (as I know sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that breastfeeding cannot be done) but if you can why not choose what Mother Nature intended and is the healthiest for the child. Mothers stop feeding into the hype and the pockets of the formula makers.

andyf3fuk said...

Complete and utter BS. Both my wife and I were formula fed. Both of us are slim and never had a problem with weight. In fact, I have quite the opposite: I can eat like a horse and rarely does my weight increase above 10.5 stone. And no, I don't suffer from an eating disorder. Maybe it's got something to do with the fact I don't sit on my arse eating crap. Whod'a thought it?

If you want a real link between between obesity and formula fed babies, try that the kids just aren't getting enough excercise, and probably never will and eat rubbish. I on the other hand was FF and got a good amount of exercise and was brought up to eat healthily.

If you want a real link between FF babies and them getting ill more commonly than BF, try the fact that the parents aren't following strict hygiene routines.

As for the comment above about the 3 month old looking like an 8 month old, how about the fact that it's a naturally large baby? My 5ft-and-not-a-lot and previously 9.5st wife gave birth to a 9lb 7oz baby. Yes, 9lb 7oz. Did she sit on her arse during pregnancy? Hell no. She swam, did yoga, walked and went to the gym. And ate healthily. I made damn sure of the latter. It was only the final few weeks where she didn't do much because she physically couldn't.

Our "new-born", 55cm long baby, is now wearing 3 month clothes. So she's obese is she? So what, should we starve her or something?

And she is FF and BF because my wife simply can't produce enough milk to satisfy her appetite. And when she is older she she will be brought up on home made "solids" and not the crap from a jar.

Clare said...

Shame on you for making women feel bad - some people don't have a choice.

VMD said...

Your 'smoke and mirror' science might make you feel better justifying your decisions but there are millions of women who cannot breastfeed across the globe. Do we let their babies starve? What about adopted children, are they all going to be obese. Maybe we should all get a lactating slave to come and live with us to produce breast milk for our darling children. Surely that is a better option than putting formula to our the lips of our babies. Do you know what I see here, a woman who has never walked a day in someone else's shoes. Someone so incapable of empathy or true understanding that it makes me feel ill. And it is so disturbing that you have used images on this blog post of babies without any links or references. Did you steal these images.? That is disgusting behaviour.

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