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Are breastfed babies REALLY healthier than formula fed babies?

NYS WIC has a huge television campaign going on about the wonders of breastfeeding. While I agree that breastfeeding is a wonderful thing, some claims made in the commercials really bother me.

In one commercial, there's a 5-6 year old boy who looks like he is getting ready to go to school. In print, it says "no cough, no cold" or something like that. Then the voice over says, "breastfed children have stronger immune systems!". Is that really true? Is there research to back up that claim?

In another commercial, there's a woman who is about to become a grandmother. She says that her daughter really wants to breastfeed, which she wholeheartedly supports. She says, "Back then, we all formula fed. Now we know better. My daughter's baby will be healthier." Are breastfed children really healthier than formula fed children?

I'm not trying to stir up trouble, I'm just wondering. Thank you ladies!


Asked by Anonymous at 10:28 PM on Oct. 11, 2010 in Kids' Health

This question is closed.
Answers (12)
  • I breastfed all 3 of ours, because I felt it was.... I did a lot of research, and all 3 of my sisters Breastfed their babies... My Mom didn't breastfeed any of us, and wished she could have. In the 60's, 70's they pushed bottle feeding, because of women becoming more independent etc... That's what my Mom told us anyway. I don't care what anyone does, it's your body, and your choice...

    Answer by MrsLeftlane at 10:34 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • Personally, I highly doubt it. My daughter was formula fed (adopted, so all you crazies out there unwad your panties), plus was a 9 week preemie. I was told by 2 different pediatricians that they were surprised how healthy she was since preemies have a tendency to have lower immunities.

    Answer by AllAboutKeeley at 10:31 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • There have been studies done to back this up, yes. And after 3 and 4 months of supplementing breast milk with formula, I completely stopped pumping and my 2 were FF. They are fine. I think they are intelligent, I am told so anyways. And they get sick, but they should get sick and be in public places around others, that's what will help their immune system more than if they were FF or BF. Just IMO there. I highly admire those who BF, cause I sure as heck couldn't.

    Answer by 2BlondeBabies at 10:32 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • A lot of it is hype, I believe. I was formula-fed and didn't have any health/illness problems, I only got sick like once a year with a cold or something but that comes with being exposed to other kids...

    Answer by Evansmommy91 at 10:38 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • Oh and I just realized, your original question was if the BABIES are healthier. I don't see how there would be any way to know that. Some people are healthier than others and you may never know why. As far as which food itself is healthier, that's easier to measure. But do health food nuts get cancer and heart disease? Of course. Do people with terrible diets live long lives? Of course. So who knows?

    Answer by getrealmama at 10:49 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • It not necessarily about babies being healthier. It over the course of years and into adulthood. If you are breastfed and fed healthy foods once done, then, yes you will be healthier. Being breastfed reduces your chances of getting breast cancer and many other things.

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 11:42 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • Well I think the later add is geared towards helping families be more supportive of the decisions of young mothers. I know a lot of people face criticism from their families when they make that choice.

    In general, yes I think it's healthier to breast feed, but formula isn't "poison" and is a fine alternative. Why wouldn't WIC support breast feeding? It's a state run program that stands to save THOUSANDS if women who can breast feed do. That doesn't mean that women are not free to make that choice for whatever reason makes sense for them.

    Answer by beckcorc at 10:34 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • Yes, there is scientific proof that it's healthier. The mom passes on antibodies against diseases through her milk. It's also better nutrition, and with no chemicals. I had to do both because my supply was low at first, and my son was just fine. But breastmilk is healthier, yes that is a fact. It's also cheaper and way, way easier, so I am not sure why so many people are quick to doubt its benefits.

    Answer by getrealmama at 10:46 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • Not always!

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:57 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • I don't really know if it is true or false BUT from what I have experienced I will always breastfeed as long as I can. My son was breastfed for the first few months (until I couldnt supplement him enough) and has rarely been ill. My sister did not breastfeed her son and he is ill often. My friend did not breastfeed and her children are ill often. I was breastfed and rarely ill when I was a child, in fact until I came down with MRSA when I was 17 and it went crazy on my immune system almost causing me to loose my leg... I was rarely ever sick and was one to go out alot.

    That is if I am ever able to have another child.

    Answer by jroseh68 at 11:29 PM on Oct. 11, 2010