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Breast fed babies cry more than formula fed babies
“Is breast really best?” asked the Daily Mail. A study has found that babies fed on formula cry less and are easier to get to sleep, it reported.
However, this study does not prove that breastfeeding results in unhappier babies, or that formula feeding is better.
The Mail’s story is based on research that asked mothers of three-month-old babies to report how their babies were fed and how they assessed their babies’ temperament. It found that at three months, breastfed babies and babies that were both breastfed and formula-fed were rated by their mothers as having more “challenging” temperaments than formula-fed babies. Breastfed babies were reported to show more distress, to smile and laugh less and to be more difficult to soothe.
The findings from this small study appear to tell new mothers that feeding a newborn baby formula has an advantage over breastfeeding. However, it cannot prove that the babies’ feeding method directly caused their behaviour, and did not consider wider issues such as:
The differences in temperament scores were very small, and it is not possible to say whether these would have meant noticeable differences in the day-to-day temperament of the babies. As the study relied on the mothers to complete questionnaires, the responses are likely to be subjective.
As the researchers point out, crying and irritability are normal ways for babies to signal they are hungry. They also say that new mothers often worry that their babies are not satisfied by breastfeeding, and that they may benefit from being advised how their baby is likely to behave when breastfed.
This excerpt is taken from NHS Choices. To read more of this article, please click here