MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) – If your newborn is breastfeeding and losing weight, will feeding her formula hurt?
Although doctors have long recommended it, a new study suggests giving the baby both formula and chest is ok.
The researchers said the answer depends on how long a mother intends to breastfeed, and it must be balanced against the risks newborns face when their weight drops more than normal.
"Counseling that implies that all formulations are harmful would be inaccurate and could be detrimental to long-term breastfeeding success," said the study's first author Dr. Valerie Flaherman. She is a pediatrician at the University of California, San Francisco.
"Our study results show that the early, limited formula can have significant benefits as well as risks for subsequent lactation," she added in a news bulletin.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers only breastfeed until their babies reach 6 months, then proceed to fasting after 1
But when a nursing newborn loses more weight than usual in the first days of life, many parents wonder if they should supplement breast milk with formula.
The new study tracked the food habits of 164 babies born in a hospital in California and one in Pennsylvania.
Everyone was breastfed between day one and day three of life, and all were above average weight. Half of the mothers also gave them a spray-fed formula for two to five days. The others continued to breastfeed exclusively.
Investigators then predicted mothers and babies to look for blend in the formula for a few days to combat weight loss suffered by the breastfeeding rate along the way.
The results were mixed. At 6 months, infants who were born at birth were as likely to breastfeed as those who did not. But the formula-fed group was less likely to breastfeed for another 12 months, the study found.
It's not surprising. About one-third of US babies are breastfeeding in 12 months, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The results suggest that the use of early, limited formula may not have an adverse effect on infants, but it may change the mother's attitudes to breastfeeding," Flaherman said.
If the formulation is used for the first few days after birth to tackle weight loss or dehydration, she added, "it should be discontinued as soon as possible as ongoing use at a week's age indicates that a mother is at high risk of early breastfeeding."
Flaherman and her colleagues reported their findings in the June 3 edition of JAMA Pediatrics.
More information 19659002] For more on breastfeeding, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.