12.24.08 Study finds breast milk is still best for babies, despite worries over toxins
A U.S. review of several foreign studies has found that the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the potential risks from toxins, The New York Times reports. The evaluation, published in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine, comes on the heels of several recent reports regarding chemicals discovered in breast milk.
The studies focused on the varying levels of dioxin exposure and possible differences among the breastfed and formula-fed babies. The review found some gaps among the babies exposed to dioxin in their mothers' milk, such as higher levels of thyroid hormones and lower blood platelet counts, compared to infants who were not exposed. However, the researchers emphasized that the measures were not abnormal or considered overly high risk.
The review's author also noted, as quoted in the NYT article: "Breast milk is the best nutrtional source for newborn babies up to 1 year because of its unique composition."
Researchers also found that breastfed babies scored higher than formula-fed children on mental development tests when they were tested at various age milestones, according to the NYT article.
Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.