Infant Formula Linked to Diabetes / SIDS decreased by Breastfeeding

Stock Photo/ Bradley C. Bower / Associated Press
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Stock Photo/ Bradley C. Bower / Associated Press

Turns out the decision over what formula you give to your baby could seriously affect their health according to a new study distributed globally last Thursday.

According to an article by Fox News, the study demonstrated that if a mother transitions from breastfeeding to “high hydrolyzed formula,” which is already broken down for easier digestion, the infant may have a lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes can be fatal unless treated indefinitely with insulin.

The study, lead by Dr. Mikael Knip of the University of Helsinki, examined infants carrying an HLA genotype, which puts them at a greater risk for developing diabetes later in life. The studies’ conclusions were published in the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition, and demonstrated that infants who underwent a transition from breast milk to formula by age five, had decreased their chance of getting type 1 diabetes by 50 percent in contrast to children who moved from breastfeeding directly to foods.

Most available formulas contain a base of cow’s milk, which is often very difficult for infants to digest before their first birthday.

In a similar story a new analysis of past studies found that babies who are breastfed are less likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. SIDS is defined as a sudden and unexplained death, usually occurring during sleep, in a baby less than a year old. According to the National Institutes of Health, SIDS most often occurs in infants between two and four months old and accounts for approximately 2,500 infant deaths each year in the U.S.

According to an article by Reuters, children who are fed strictly breast milk as infants are less likely to have SIDS being that the breast milk helps protect infants from minor infections. The World Health Organization, among others, recommends that mother’s breastfeed their babies for the first six months.

The researchers concluded that the rate of SIDS was 60 percent lower among infants who had any amount of breastfeeding compared to those who didn’t breastfeed, and more than 70 percent lower in infants breastfed exclusively without any formula.