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View Poll Results: Breast feeding, my doctor told me my child would not get sick as often. Is this true for you?
I breast feed. 59 60.82%
My child is rarely sick. 53 54.64%
My child gets sick often. 2 2.06%
I bottle fed. 18 18.56%
My child is rarely sick. 16 16.49%
My child gets sick often. 3 3.09%
I bottle and breast fed. 18 18.56%
My child is rarely sick. 15 15.46%
My child is often sick. 2 2.06%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 97. You may not vote on this poll

Old 05-23-2007, 02:56 PM
Location: Vancouver, Canada
550 posts, read 2,540,667 times
Reputation: 524


I breast fed my first son until just past 1 year of age. He weaned himself. He gets sick more often than my second son who was only breast fed for 3 months. My second son pretty much never gets sick. (Missed one day of school so far this year.)
My third son was mostly bottle fed (by the way I regret not breast feeding the other 2 very much and wish I could take it back!) and gets sick the most. So if breast feeding is better for your child why isn't my 1st and 2nd son switched in how often they get sick?
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Old 05-23-2007, 03:07 PM
Location: Rocket City, U.S.A.
1,806 posts, read 4,992,915 times
Reputation: 843
I can't give a scientific reason one way or another - I'm in no way qualified.

However, common sense would dictate that each child has a differing immunity despite your contribution and this pre-disposition may have nothing at all to do with breast vs. bottle.

The argument could go all over the place, really...would one child be sicker if not breastfed at all...etc...could it be exposure, environment? On and on.
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Old 05-23-2007, 03:32 PM
Location: Happiness is found inside your smile :)
3,178 posts, read 13,165,668 times
Reputation: 1256
I sucked at breastfeeding - I did both breast (hardly that much) and formula - and then he was ALL formula at 8 weeks old

He had ONE ear infection at age 3.

He hasn't had one sick day all year this year (Kindergarten)

I think being in daycare is a contributing factor though
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Old 05-23-2007, 04:23 PM
Location: NJ
12,284 posts, read 30,935,086 times
Reputation: 5190
I BF'ed one of my twins longer than the other, since the smaller one was really tiny and had an immature suck reflex - I pumped for him but had to supplement with fortified formula.

Both are very healthy today, the "bottle" feeder had tubes at 12 months due to chronic fluid, but other than that, very, very minor illnesses. They've been absent from school probably a total of 4 days (that's between the both of them) due to illness - in 5 years of school. I feel very fortunate.
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:49 PM
Location: State College PA
402 posts, read 1,993,833 times
Reputation: 255
Okay, push me off my soap box if you wish here....

I understand if a woman is physically unable, tries (really tries) to and can't, or like me with my first...stops earlier than the recommended duration (12mos or more) of breastfeeding because it's killing your family. (or can't due to baby allergies)

I don't understand however, how a doctor, in good medical ethics and conscious, can look at a pregnant woman, and say that formula is just as good. I am stunned by even the number of health personnel (there's one at work right now) that are pregnant and believe it is a EQUAL alternative.

Breastmilk - made in the body, changes with age, always warm, always perfect balance. No need to add DHA, blah, blah, blah. No bottles to clean, none to warm up in the middle of the night. I admit though, a blocked duct really stinks!
Formula - scientically developed, ever changing to be AS GOOD as breastmilk, and MADE IN A FACTORY. (let's talk about food tainting/poisoning now!!)

The whole thing of takes too much "time" kills me....you just had a baby...

(I understand how it gets awkward once going back to work though....)
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Old 05-24-2007, 06:28 AM
Location: Chattanooga TN
2,349 posts, read 9,493,282 times
Reputation: 1197
I breastfed and my lil one was rarely sick. At least until he entered daycare and then we deal w/mostly sniffles. I have only one so I can't make any comparisons though.
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:33 AM
Location: Hillsborough
2,825 posts, read 5,952,246 times
Reputation: 2620
Default Breast is best!

I breastfeed my baby and I am an immunologist, so I may be able to shed some light on your issue. I hear comments like yours a lot, and I think it must come from a basic misconception of how statistics work, which is on populations not individuals.

Scientifically speaking, breastfeeding is BY FAR healthier than formula feeding with respect to many, many types of illnesses both for the child as well as for the mother! But when they say that a formula fed baby is twice as likely to get an ear infection than a breastfed baby, that does not at all mean that a breastfed baby will never get an ear infection and that a formula fed baby definitely will. It means that given a population of breastfed and formula fed babies, that 60% of the formula fed babies will get an ear infection in the first year while only 30% of the breastfed babies will. This is an aggregate representation, and statistics apply to groups, not individuals. So your individual experience of your formula fed child vs your breastfed child does not really relate at all to the statistic at hand. Breastfeeding does not guarantee that YOUR child will be less sick, but rather that a population of breastfed babies will be less sick than a popultion of formula fed babies. In addition, there are many other factors that influence how often your child will get sick, such as their exposure to daycare, other nutrition, pets, etc.

If it makes you feel any better, you could think of it like this: Imagine how much more your breastfed child would get sick if he had been formula fed? The reason that breastfed babies get sick less often is because they are getting immunities from their mother through the breastmilk at an age when their own immune system is not that good at making them itself. The mom and baby are both exposed to the same germs, and mom makes immunities for herself and then passes these to baby through the breastmilk. So the baby is not just getting a general immunity boost, but an immunity boost that is specifically tailored to the germs that he has been exposed to. If baby is exposed to germs that mom hasn't been, say at daycare, then he can pass those to mom while breastfeeding as well, and she will then make immunities that will be passed back to him next time. (This is also why you should continue to nurse or even nurse more often if either of you is sick) It's really a remarkable system. And there is no way that formula can ever come close to mimicking it, no matter how much DHA etc they try to add to it, because it can't be tailored to what a particular baby needs on this particular day.

This immunological benefit to breastfeeding continues for as long as you continue to breastfeed, so it is better to continue until your child's immune system is well-developed. The longer the better basically. Formula fed babies are 2-4 times more likely to have ear infections, 2.5 times more likely to get vomitting or diarrhea, over 12 times more likely to get pneumonia, and over 8 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital. Meanwhile, other medical benefits of breastfeeding last into adulthood: adults who were breastfed have less incidence of certain chronic diseases, such as Crohn's and colitis, diabetes, allergies, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain cancers.

And these are just the medical benefits to baby, not to mention the medical benefits to mom or the emotional, econonomic, and time-saving benefits of breastfeeding.

Scientifically speaking, there is really no contest and it is deplorable for a health care professional to imply that formula feeding is "just as good" or even "almost as good" as an alternative to breastfeeding, just so that moms who choose not to breastfeed will not feel bad. They need to know the impact of the choice they are making and weigh it seriously, not just have a feel-good answer. To breastfeed or not is a medical decision and should be viewed with that level of seriousness, not simply as a personal choice, like picking the theme for your nursery.
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Old 05-24-2007, 11:47 AM
Location: coos bay oregon
2,096 posts, read 8,056,764 times
Reputation: 1273
my first was a micro premiee, and had pumped breast milk for the first 5months of her life, then went to formula, she has never had an ear infection, and is pretty healthy.
my son was a greedy little turkey. He would nurse and nurse, then 30min. later, nurse again. I put him on a bottle at 2months at dr. advise, and he prefered it, could not get that kid to nurse again for the life of me. He has never had an ear infection, rarely been ill, and never anything worse then a common cold/slight flu thats lasted more than a day or two. He's actually amazingly healthy.
my youngest, I tried again to nurse, but she projectile vomited each time. I changed what I ate, to the extreme, even changed my soap and laundry detergent, just in case, but nothing worked, Dr said she had serious breastmilk allergies. Finally had to put her on the bottle at about 6weeks or so, changed formula about 4 times, finally went to the soy, and that worked for her. Shes been the one to get the RSV, pnemonia 3 times (shes only 5 now!!) and each and every cold/flu that goes around. Oddly enough though, shes also my strongest and most active child (shes already been placed early on our competative gymnastics team, by far the youngest around!)
IMO, its great if you can breastfeed, and the bennies are there. I was pretty distraght at not being able to w/my kids, getting worse w/each one, but thankfully, my dr was very supportive. He did say where the first year is best, the first few days w/the colostrum (did i spell that right?) is the absolute most important, closely followed by the first 6weeks. So, I was thankful to at least get that in.
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Old 05-24-2007, 01:03 PM
Location: Vancouver, Canada
550 posts, read 2,540,667 times
Reputation: 524
Thanks for all your responses! All this talk about breast feeding is making me miss having a baby. It's funny how reading through here things I had forgotten about with my babies came popping in my head. Isn't being a mom just wonderful?!?
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Old 05-24-2007, 01:46 PM
548 posts, read 2,392,661 times
Reputation: 356
I've got the perfect solution. Just change this to a sleep question so you don't miss the baby thing too much!

I breastfed both of my biological children (one for 9 months, one for a year). Neither gets sick pretty much ever. My adopted son was bottle fed. He pretty much never gets sick either.

I think 2 things:
1. a child's genetic makeup is going to play a part in how often s/he gets sick. I don't necessarily think my 2 biological children would be sick all the time if they had been formula fed.

2. There is a misconception that the only difference between formula/breast is how often a baby gets sick. I think it will turn out to be much more than that. I read recently that preliminary studies are showing formula babies get Parkinsons more often (in late adulthood) than do breastfed babies. I imagine there are mnay things like this, where the full effect of it will not be realized until late in life, and often won't be attributed to lack of breastmilk (b/c, again, there are so many different factors going into disease--genetic makeup, environment, nutrition, etc). And of course formula today is better than it was when those who are well into adulthood had in their time.

The safest bet imo, is breastmilk, unless there is a reason not to (silicone from implants, for example, might be a reason to reconsider...although maybe not...not enough studies have been done for me to be convinced either way on this issue).
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