Introducing milk other than breast milk to infants younger than 4 months old increases the risk of asthma and atopy (a predisposition to certain allergies). In the first study of its kind, the investigators followed over two thousand children from before birth through their 6th birthday, questioning their parents regarding various manifestations of asthma and allergy. Children who were fed milk other than breast milk before 4 months of age experienced higher rates of all indicators of asthma and allergy, the report indicates.
Such children were 25% more likely to be diagnosed with allergy and 30% more likely to have a positive skin test for allergies than were children who received only breast milk during their early months. The total duration of exclusive breastfeeding was less important, though longer breastfeeding was associated with less asthma and allergy. Because the introduction of non-breast milk was more closely associated with asthma and atopy than the duration of breastfeeding, the investigators postulate that the exclusion of potentially allergy-causing components in milk other than breast milk may account for the protective effect.
British Medical Journal September 25, 1999;319:815-819.
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
I don’t believe even traditional medical doctors recommend introducing milk to infants prior to one year of age. However, it is likely that the milk-based formulas can cause huge health problems, allergies being only one of them. Breast milk is of course the best, but not always possible. Even though Carnation Good Start is milk based, it is the formula I recommend for those who cannot breast-feed. It is hydrolyzed and less likely to contribute to allergy problems. There is a Follow-Up formula that is used after six months of age, however it is not hydrolized.
As mentioned in the next article, adding one capsule per day to the formula may be a wise strategy to optimize the child’s brain development. I would strongly discourage the use of soy formulas for two reasons. The first is that there are powerful phytoestrogens in soy, which can have significant negative influences on the child. Soy formula also has over ten times as much aluminum in the their formula as milk based formulas. Last but not least, soy has digestive enzyme inhibitors, which impair utilizations of its protein content. One can view the soy article in the article section on my web site at www.mercola.com.
For more information about breastfeeding contact La Leche League International. The group also published their classic breastfeeding guide entitled The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding almost 40 years ago. The book is currently in its 6th revised addition, which can be viewed at Amazon.com by clicking the link above or below.
I would encourage all women who are able to do so to try to breastfeed, as it is the single most important thing a mother can do for her baby.
If a woman is interested in breastfeeding but still needs to go back to work for whatever reason, it would be very beneficial if she investigated the possibility of pumping or expressing her milk. If you need breastfeeding supplies, such as breast pumps, you can try Nursing Mother Supplies, which carries a wide variety of products to help you successfully breastfeed.
(Note: A small percentage of any sales generated by going through the link above will be donated back to the website, to help me to continue to supply this completely FREE service.)