A recent study (JH Savage et al J Pediatr 2018; 203: 47-54) examined the impact of breastfeeding compared with formula on microbiome diversity in 323 infants; this included 95 exclusively breastfed, 169 exclusively formula fed at time of stool collection.
Breastfed infants were more likely to have been born vaginally (74% vs 62%) and less likely to be African-American (11% vs. 36% for hispanic infants, and 52% for caucasian).
- Breastfeeding was independently associated with infant intestinal microbiome diversity at age 3-6 months
- Maternal diet during pregnancy and solid food introduction were less associated with infant gut microbiome changes than breastfeeding status
My take: We still don’t understand the long-term implications of these differences in microbiome alterations between breastfeeding and formula. That being said, the development/evolution of breastmilk has taken place over thousands of years and it is likely that formula, while an important substitute, will never replicate all of the useful components.
Related blog posts:
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- Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, breastmilk, and infant cognition
- Laying to Rest a Breast-Feeding Myth
- Breastfeeding and IQ –the Latest Data
- The Genius of Breastmilk
- More breastmilk, better development | gutsandgrowth
- Feeling Guilty about Stopping Breastfeeding? | gutsandgrowth
- Bioactive Components of Breastmilk | gutsandgrowth
- More on Breastfeeding and Intelligence