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Guest Post: Breastfeeding and Your Baby's Metabolism

Posted May 06 2011 12:00am

While experts have already proven that breastfeeding can help mothers lose excess baby weight and regulate their metabolism (you naturally burn calories to make breast milk every time you nurse) a new study suggests that breast feeding can even ultimately help regulate your child's metabolism — for life.

This phenomenon, which a team of French researchers have dubbed as the "metabolic programming effect," is a theory that suggests proper nutrition-intake at a child's most critical and earliest stages in life (birth) plays a pivotal role in ensuring that they maintain healthy throughout their entire lives. And what type of food has the most beneficial nutritional value? Breast milk, according to researchers. The study argues that infant formula, on the other hand, may actually contain a protein that may eventually induce a whirlwind of other health complications down the road such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

The team of researchers, which was co-lead by Dr. Guy Putet, studied 234 healthy new born babies from the Neonatal Department of Hospices Civils de Lyon at Claude Bernard University in Lyon, France for three consecutive years. Out of the 234 new borns, 78 were fed exclusively breast milk, 78 were fed high-protein infant formula, and the remaining 78 fed low-protein formula for straight 4 months.

As early as the first 15 days, researchers discovered that blood insulin levels were higher in the formula-fed infants as opposed to the breastfed infants. These spiked insulin levels continued throughout the formula-fed's babies first four months of life, but then seemed to normalize completely by the ninth month. The same pattern occurred regarding the infants' growth. In the first few months breastfed infants had more proportional weight in regards to fat mass and lean body mass, yet by age 3 there were no huge differences in growth except for head sizes—low-protein formula fed infants had slightly smaller heads than the rest, but nothing abnormally small.

The huge and final discovery, however, was that at age 3 the formula-fed children had much higher diastolic and mean blood pressures. It was even higher in those who were fed the high-protein formula as an infant.

While Putet and his team's conclusions can be arguably seen as groundbreaking in the neonatal world, Putet admitted in a press release that further research and longer follow-ups are essential in solidifying the correlation between breast milk and its effects it has on locking-in metabolism and ensuring long term health.

Author Bio:

Donna Reish, a freelancer who blogs about best universities , contributed this guest post.  She loves to write education, career, frugal living, finance, health, parenting relating articles. She can be reached via email at:



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