New Study Says Formula Use Early Could Help Breastfeeding Moms
There’s nary a more polarizing mommy topic than breastfeeding, with some moms saying “leave me alone already,” while others think breastfeeding is a must. For years, many of us new moms were also told that giving our babies formula would actually deter babies from nursing, adding stress to an already full plate of worries.
A new experiment lets mom off the hook — to a certain extent — as a study out of the University of California San Francisco shows that early formula use can actually be of help to breastfeeding moms.
The study is quick to point out, however, that the results refer to early limited formula (or ELF) use. As an article on The Stir explains, “Under their guidelines, small amounts of formula are given to babies to help curb their hunger while mom waits for her milk to come in, but mom still breastfeeds.”
The study had 40 newborns who were split into two groups — one that got ELF while the other was solely breastfed. At three months, almost 80 percent of the babies who were given ELF were breastfeeding exclusively where 42 percent of moms who had breastfed exclusively were still doing so. It’s not hard to imagine that some of the breastfeeding-only moms may have given up due to the stress and frustration of hungry, fussy babies.
Tthe study does point out that the use of the ELF would be to help with the stress for some moms who are not producing enough breast milk right away, not as a practice to continue throughout infancy.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Valerie Flaherman, still makes sure to say in a press release that the practice of adding ELF isn’t perfect, even calling the use of formula a “slippery slope to breastfeeding discontinuation.”