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A little formula may help prolong breastfeed   2013-05-14 10:00:23

  Giving small amounts of infant formula to newborns who experience high levels of weight loss might actually increase the length of time their mothers end up breastfeeding, a new study has found.

  New mothers do not immediately produce high volumes of milk and their babies often lose weight during this period, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), reported.

  "Many mothers develop concerns about their milk supply, which is the most common reason they stop breastfeeding in the first three months," lead author Valerie Flaherman, an assistant professor at the UCSF, said in a statement.

  "But this study suggests that giving those babies a little early formula may ease those concerns and enable them to feel confident continuing to breastfeed," added the researcher.

  The study, published online in the Pediatrics journal on Monday, enrolled 40 full-term newborns between 24 and 48 hours old who had lost more than 5 percent of their birth weight.

  The babies were randomly assigned into two groups. Half received early limited formula, which consisted of 10 milliliters of infant formula by syringe, following each breastfeeding. Formula feeding ended when their mothers began producing mature milk, approximately two to five days after birth. The other half continued breast-feeding exclusively.

  All the babies in both groups were still breastfeeding after one week. However, by the end of that week, only 10 percent of the early-limited-formula babies were still using formula, compared with 47 percent of the control group.

  At three months, 79 percent of the babies in the formula group and 42 percent of babies in the control group were breast-feeding exclusively.

  While impressed with the results of this small study, the researchers urged caution in interpreting their results.

  "It will be important to see whether these results can be confirmed in future, larger studies and in other populations," said senior author Thomas Newman, a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology and biostatistics at the UCSF.

source : Xinhua     editor:: Ma Ting
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