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May 2012

Why Feed Breast Milk From a Bottle?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Public Health and Pediatrics and Center for Obesity Research and Education, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Dr Whitaker); and Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle (Dr Wright).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(5):483-484. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.275

Because of the childhood obesity epidemic, pediatricians are paying more attention to how and how much infants are fed and not just what they are fed. These concerns are based on research linking infant weight and weight gain to later obesity.1 Although it is clear that breastfed and formula-fed infants have different patterns of growth,2 it is less clear that these differences in infant feeding affect the risk of childhood obesity.3,4 One hypothesized mechanism by which breastfeeding might protect against obesity is that feeding from the breast prevents overfeeding (feeding the infant beyond satiety), suggesting that breastfeeding, rather than breast milk, protects against later obesity.