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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #217612

Title: Advantages and scientific basis of breastfeeding

item Hopkinson, Judy

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/2/2004
Publication Date: 1/20/2005
Citation: Hopkinson, J. 2005. Advantages and scientific basis of breastfeeding. In: Berens, P., Hopkinson, J., Sullivan, H., Bruns, E., Edwards, R., Ellis, S., editors. Principles of Lactation Management, January 2005, Austin, Texas. p. 1-20.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The evidence behind current recommendations for breastfeeding is presented as a series of powerpoint slides with detailed references. Web sites and resources for infant feeding recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and other health care provider professional groups are detailed. Evidence for specific claims regarding the benefits of breastfeeding are reviewed, including impact on intelligence, infant morbidity, and the beneficial impact of breastfeeding on premature infants. Slides allow discussion of the impact of recent changes in formula composition on relative benefits of breast and formula feeding. A schema for breastfeeding definitions is presented prior to data regarding the dose-response relationship between breastfeeding and child health. Data examining differential health and developmental outcomes of infants with varying breastmilk exposures are reviewed, including comparisons of common childhood morbidities, obesity, IQ, diabetes, and asthma. Purported benefits are categoriezed according to the strength of supporting evidence. Similarly, data examining the impact of feeding choice on maternal health is reviewed to evaluate impact (or lack thereof) of breastfeeding on body composition, bone density, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical cancer. Where feeding-associated differences are identified in either children or mothers, potential mechanisms of action are reviewed, including activity of specific milk components, the potential role of confounding variables, and the impact of changes in maternal hormones.