'bf babies more intelligent' thread II

(163 Posts)
bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 19:55:25

Ok, the original thread actually said that bf babies were more intelligent not because of bm but because their mum's were more intelligent...thread was killed by obsessive spamming from one idiot MNer and I would have been happy to let it die except that I clicked on a link on another thread and then came across this article which says that bf for even 4 weeks can have "‘significant’ effect on a child’s development in primary and secondary school".

Thought it might be an interesting way to reopen the debate given that many posters were saying there was lack of evidence for any intellectual benefits of bf.

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 19:56:11

It's an article from 14th March btw - so v recent

liggerscharter Thu 17-Mar-11 19:58:14

Haven't read the original research but I think I heard this being discussed somewhere and that the 4 week thing was relevant for low birthweight prem babies?

Think they said that the difference for a term baby of normal birthweight was negligible.

I could have been dreaming that though, but glad to see the debate can carry on regardless of what happened at the end of the last one.

Bear in mind that significant is a scientific term. It doesn't mean that your baby will be significantly more intelligent, just that the statistical difference between the babies was big enough. Alos, unless they divide babies into groups randomly (never going to happen) there is no way of proving it. You cna just show it correlates.

Spelling, aarrgghh.

Must be because I wasn't BF grin

FabbyChic Thu 17-Mar-11 20:00:38

Sorry but I know a lot of breast fed kids who are thick as shit. My children were not breast fed and one has almost finished his Maths Degree and already has a 50k a year job to go to, and the youngest is also studying Maths at University starting this year.

I think it is absolute bollocks. Sorry but I do.

MilaMae Thu 17-Mar-11 20:09:27

As a primary teacher I do too.

What makes children consistently better at primary school is a combination of genes,parental involvement,parental influence,parental interest,lifestyle,sleep and personality.

4 weeks of bm would make absolutely zilch impact. Any kid with many of the above advantages will do well bm or no bm.

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 20:13:27

Fabby - no one is saying ALL bf babies are intelligent and ALL ff babies are not.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 20:15:16

Milamae am I allowed to ban you from my thread? wink Seriously though, personal experiences are not going to tell us anything. I was just interested in the article in relation to the previous thread.

eviscerateyourmemory Thu 17-Mar-11 20:15:50

I think that if you dont have a basic understanding of stats that can make it harder, because the differences are ones which are observed statistically, rather than by being able to look at a small number of children and see an obvious difference.

Also some people like to look at numbers and some people like to see things with their own eyes, or to take advice based on the experience of friends or family - it would be interesting to see if rates of breastfeeding were different depending on the 'style' of information that people preferred.

liggerscharter Thu 17-Mar-11 20:16:24

Oooh, beertricks, please don't quote me there - it was something i overheard on the radio I think and wsan't listening properly.

Catrinm Thu 17-Mar-11 20:18:12

Anecdote; DH science degree from Oxbridge, he was bottle fed, his mum smoked during and after pregnancy and she was an unmarried teenage mum.

But, rather like the vaccination threads one or two anecdotes don't prove anything. Good scientific analysis of statistics can.

No one is suggesting that FF babies are all thick and Breast fed babies are geniuses but that breast fed babies may on average have a slightly higher IQ.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I can't remember who said it but the plural of anecdote is not data. If every BF child was 1 IQ point up then it would not give you a Maths degree and a teacher would not notice it. But a researcher might pick it up as significant.

liggerscharter Thu 17-Mar-11 20:21:29

The most interesting thing to me, is the duration of bf.

I mixed fed both of mine for 6 months (not much formula) and 4 months (a fair bit of formula) respectively.

Where does this put them in the at risk groups for all the things bf is the biological norm to prevent?

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 20:23:13

ok found the paper itself here for anyone who is interested. Off to do some reading...come and join me Milamae?

668neighbourofthebeast Thu 17-Mar-11 20:27:38

Agree MilaMae, FabbyChic etc.

Common sense should really prevail. In the grand scheme of things, I would rather bf than not but, after spending the first two months of ds's life utterly miserable, obsessively trying to make bf work and thinking I was a failure, I began bottle feeding. My crying, distressed and quite frankly far-too-skinny baby turned into a smiling, happy, sleeping little bundle. Looking back I can't believe I was that person.

I'm expecting dc2 and although I will bf again, if it doesn't work out, then I'm not going to beat myself up about it like I did last time.

Catrinm Thu 17-Mar-11 20:27:55

Re prem babies

Both my Dcs were premmies and the hospital they were born in had a milk bank. Both received donated milk. It is expensive stuff. I don't think that the hospital would go to such great lengths to provide such an amazing service if there wasn't a clinically proven benefit (though not necessarily I.Q.)

reallytired Thu 17-Mar-11 20:31:23

What would be interesting would be to see if mothers who breastfeed are brighter than bottlefeeding mothers.

Does maternal IQ decrease with duration of breastfeeding?

Surely healthy women with normal babies who do not offer the baby colustrum are strange.

I know someone at work who thinks breastfeeding is sexual and would not even try. There is no evidence that her children are thick, inspite of having a stupid mother.

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 20:33:29

reallytired - it actually covers that in the study - and yes they are. (education of the mothers was used as a control).

liggers, it doesn't just apply to premature babies.

peppapighastakenovermylife Thu 17-Mar-11 20:34:00

It is impossible to tell the effect of breastfeeding on any individual. You will never know if you would have been more or less intelligent if you were BF / FF

BF decreases the risk of certain things. Risk. Not definitives.

Just like driving without a seatbelt does not mean you will die and some people do it their whole life just fine (I am not saying they are equal acts)

Take a room full of babies, perhaps 10 in the BF group will get a gastro bug that year and 20 in the FF will get it. That is still 80 FF babies who didnt get it and 10 BF who did.

Just averages - averages and risk that you can take into account when considering the overall situation for your family based on what your family needs

Something that should be supported and encouraged but not against everything else


bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 20:34:23


'Women with a degree are more likely likely to initiate breastfeeding than women in other groups, and by one week women with a degree are twice as likely to be breastfeeding as women in the lowest educational group (93% versus 46%). These differences increase with the age of the baby: at 7 weeks, women with degrees are three times more likely to be breastfeeding than women with the fewest qualifications (82% versus 28%) while after 17 weeks, mothers with degrees are over four times more likely to be breastfeeding."

reallytired, if you look at the study (thanks bubbleymummy) it shows that maternal educational level is a big factor in BFing. I don't know about IQ, though. I shouldn't think maternal IQ increases with BFing. Having a baby appears to have dropped my IQ by about 20 points (lack of sleep).

peppapighastakenovermylife Thu 17-Mar-11 20:35:37

Women who breastfeed generally have higher levels of education.

The recent study was a matched pairs design though e.g. matching one woman with a phd who FF with one woman with a phd who bf to reduce these disparities

Cymar Thu 17-Mar-11 20:35:41

It may also be to do with a child's willingness to learn.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 20:36:49

Cymar - perhaps bf increases a child's willingness to learn wink

Catrinm Thu 17-Mar-11 20:37:04

I breast fed Dc2 for two years so must be a bloomin genius!

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 20:38:26

Should also point out that the study isn't looking at IQ - it's looking at test performances at entry level and key stage 1, 2, 3.

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 20:40:04

sigh - just noticing it but please ignore the apostrophe in mums in my OP blush

liggerscharter Thu 17-Mar-11 20:41:02

Bubbley - ok, thanks smile not sure what I overheard then.

rollittherecollette Thu 17-Mar-11 20:55:17

There are some studies which show some IQ advantage 'associated with' bf and others which show none.

Most are observational studies.

I cannot help but think that if something is having no or negligble effect that is exactly what you would find with a collection of observational studles- conflicting results

Anyway as with all scientific stuff out there on the ether- if you cannot understand the fundamental difference between 'x is associated with y' and 'x is caused by y' then you are best off not reading scientific literature at all

rollittherecollette Thu 17-Mar-11 21:03:38

and sorry the methods used by that study - pairing up mothers with the same academic qualification, was laughably crap. the prob with fixing the results that way is that you will get the result that you are looking for and if you dont your study aint going to get published.

Cymar Thu 17-Mar-11 21:18:00

I also think personality has a bit to do with it too. I think it would be fair to assume that a FF child with an enthusiasm to learn may well do better in school than a BF child who has little interest in learning anything.

BTW most of the mums I know who BF were former factory workers, office juniors and care assistants, not degree holders in professional jobs. In fact, the highest qualified mum I know who BF, has an NVQ2 in health and social care.

MilaMae Thu 17-Mar-11 21:36:27

It just can't have an effect,there is no logic to it. What makes kids do well at school is a combination of what I listed and probably a few other things too. Without this support kids struggle, end of.

Within a week of kids starting school you can pick out the ones who get the support at home. They fly,if they weren't bf they'd still fly(SEN issues aside). You can also tell the ones who continuously get to bed on time too,makes a huge impact.If a child was bf and up until late most nights his education would still suffer.

Also SATs don't suit a lot of kids. I've taught some exceptionally bright kids who were just average in SATS. Summer birth boys often take a while to catch up with writing,this has a big effect on SATs results in the younger end of school. Some kids just don't suit SATs. Personality plays a huge part too.

Believe you me SATS are the last thing you'd ever base any credible data on,they often don't tell you much and teacher assessment is far more reliable. For that reason alone I'd ignore this study let alone taking pure common sense into account.

eviscerateyourmemory Thu 17-Mar-11 21:39:39


Why do you think that there is no logic to the idea that infant feeding could make a difference to IQ?

Obviously IQ is determined by a number of factors - no-one on this thread has suggested otherwise, or even that brestfeeding makes a large difference to IQ.

TheSecondComing Thu 17-Mar-11 21:42:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MilaMae Thu 17-Mar-11 21:45:06

I'm talking Bubbly's quote -"4 weeks bf has significant effect on a child's development in primary and secondary school"-total tosh.

Re IQ-it's not so much logic but that the science is so flimsy it's just not reliable enough.

MilaMae Thu 17-Mar-11 21:47:24

Exactly tsc until "studies" are done on identical twins for a significant amount of time I aint buying anything.I have the same opinion for all "wonder foods" not just bm.

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 21:48:27

I think it is a perfectly reasonable idea that human milk would allow a baby's brain to develop exactly as it should and that fm, being made from the milk of another species, would not allow this in the same way. Be it proteins in the milk or whatever...

Milamae, do I have to tell you about controls again? Stop making irrelevant comparisons!

Rollit, how else would you suggest they control for factors such as education? Also, education wasn't the only thing they used as a control - there was quite a long list.

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 21:51:42

Milamae - that was the quote from the article not my own.

The study is not based on IQ.

Not sure why you're talking about 'wonder foods' tbh.

Hullygully Thu 17-Mar-11 21:52:50

<wonders how long Habb will resist>

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 21:54:26

I'd also like to see those who disagree with the study produce some evidence that shows that fm may increase intelligence because simply saying that you don't believe it doesn't really mean very much. If there was one you can bet your life that every formula company would be throwing it around!

boosmummie Thu 17-Mar-11 21:58:30

<sitting with Hully wondering the very same, but thinks certain words need to be said first>

MilaMae Thu 17-Mar-11 22:13:13

Sorry "controls" don't impress me.My dp just took part in a medical study recently,his interviewer tried to coax dp in to answering several questions the way he thought he should.

Also as others have said this issue has been discredited before,give it a year and there will be another study saying there is no credible evidence.

Sorry mums should go on common sense if they want to ensure their kids do well at school not buy into every tin pot "study" that The Daily Fail likes to scare us all with.

rollittherecollette Thu 17-Mar-11 22:13:47

"I'd also like to see those who disagree with the study produce some evidence that shows that fm may increase intelligence"

you really just dont get it do you, perhaps you were ff?

Frankly if you did an observational study on bf associations with growth you would probably find that bf children tend to be shorter, or taller, You woudl definately find something.

it wouldnt prove anything though.

bonkers20 Thu 17-Mar-11 22:21:54

MilaMae but how do you know that the children who were BF are not doing even better than they would have done if they were FF?

You don't know and you can't know.

I have heard that there is a correlation between maternal education level and how well a child does educationally. The father's educational level didn't show this correlation. Nothing to do with BF, just something I thought was interesting.

TheSecondComing Thu 17-Mar-11 22:37:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MilaMae Thu 17-Mar-11 22:44:33

Exactly TSC(I know exactly what you mean) and there have been studies linking health and educational benefits to sleep.

Speaking of which I must get some..... smile

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 23:20:04

Rollitt - I don't think you get it actually. There is no evidence that ff increases intelligence - none. There is some evidence that bf does increase intelligence. There are no guarantees about anything - no one is saying that - but my point is that simply dismissing every study that shows something that you don't like doesn't make that evidence go away.

Milamae - you clearly don't understand what controls are and what they are for. I know this from my previous encounters with you and the silly comparisons that you continue to make on these threads.

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 23:22:38

Milamae - what makes you believe those studies about health, educational benefits and sleep? I mean if the controls are all twisted to prove what the researchers want to prove.... hmm

TheSecondComing Thu 17-Mar-11 23:30:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 23:38:41

Not trying to beat anyone around the head with anything tsc - why is any discussion about bf interpreted as some kind of attack on people who ff? Are we not allowed to discuss these things? Maybe we should stop people discussing homebirths at the risk of offending someone who had to go into hospital. Or not discuss natural birth at the risk of offending someone who had a Caesarian. Or does censorship only apply to bf?

TheSecondComing Thu 17-Mar-11 23:43:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 23:56:03

Tsc - I'm not sure we're reading the same thread or if you've decided that this one is something it's not. No one has said anything offensive about ff here at all. Unless you are interpreting that a discussion about a study about bf and intelligence is offensive and bullying simply because it is about bf? This is not meant to be a support thread or a thread to help someone decide whether or not to bf so I'm not really sure why you are talking about my 'methods' and 'intentions' - I was bringing a study to the attention of some people on the previous thread ( you included iirc) that said there was no evidence/ studies about bf and intelligence. I'm not sure how that translates to an onslaught on ff tbh.

RedbinD Fri 18-Mar-11 00:00:59

This is all getting far too intense. You only have to read most of the comments here to realise that feeding babies anything makes us all stupid.

TheSecondComing Fri 18-Mar-11 00:01:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 00:15:18

This is a different thread tsc and I'm trying to keep it civil and on topic. What was the point I have failed to answer? I've already told you I'm not trying to advise or encourage anyone to do anything and have just brought a study to your (and other people's) attention - that was the only reason for starting this thread.

choccybox Fri 18-Mar-11 01:33:04

Gosh i think we all know where these threads end up!

I think this is the only place where people can feel the need to boast about how much better a parent they are through their feeding choice.

A childs life is a whole lot more than the first 6 months of EBF (if that is what they choose). Thankfully in RL people have plenty more to worry about!

AlpinePony Fri 18-Mar-11 06:12:45

If any of you pious ones are breastfeeding because your children NEED that extra IQ point the bless you and "pissing in the wind" spring to mind.

crappymummum Fri 18-Mar-11 06:31:24

if you'd read the old thread bubbley you wouldve seen i linked to that article.........obviously too busy arguing

crappymummum Fri 18-Mar-11 06:40:38


"Surely healthy women with normal babies who do not offer the baby colustrum are strange."

Or maybe wildly misinformed,uneducated about breastfeeding? or heaven forbid have decided they do not wish to Bf for whatever reason be it "choice" or not.

I couldnt let that one go.What a judgmental ARSE!

Oh and i thought it was colOstrum not colUstrum..lacking IQ points there obviously

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 07:33:52

No one is boasting, no one is being pious and the only people here who have resorted to bad language and insults are those defending ff. If you don't like this topic of discussion then stay away.

Crappy, if you didn't like that person's opinion then I hope you took it up with them but if you don't mind I would like to stick to the topic being discussed and I think dragging up old arguments is not really contributing to that discussion. If you want to start a thread about whether or not that person's opinion is unreasonable then you are free to do so

AlpinePony Fri 18-Mar-11 07:42:33

haha - you're taking it more seriously than anyone else. But seriously, I'm questioning whether your desperation to raise your children's IQ's stems from your own feelings of inadequacy. HTH!

But seemingly not intelligent enough to use the bf/ff topic that is there for a reason...hmm

MissyKLo Fri 18-Mar-11 08:06:29

I think one of the things I really think about is that formula feeding is still relatively new in the grand scheme of things and I wonder about the long term effects on human beings

Babies were designed to drink breast milk. Formula should be the alternative when women have genuine problems bf. I cannot get my head around the fact some people view it as a lifestlye choice.

The article you linked to is very intersting bubbly my main concern remains the health aspects of bf

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 08:20:06

Alpine, taking the topic seriously? Well yes, I did start it and I find it interesting. I'm not desperate to raise my children's IQ and if you read the study (or my previous posts) you would see it's not about IQ.

I'm actually not sure why the ff are on the rampage about this study tbh. It actually has quite a positive message. If you read it, apparently even bf for a week makes a difference - every feed counts - even if you didn't manage to conitinue for as long as you wanted.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 08:22:21

Just to add, I don't know anyone who would choose to bf solely in an attempt to increase their child's intelligence. This is obviously a very small part of bf.

rollittherecollette Fri 18-Mar-11 08:31:08

Agree with Milaemae above that it seems illogical to suggest that bf has anything to do with IQ,

Sorry but at the end of the day BM just FOOD. Its like suggesting that a kids eating KFC are more likey to be less intelligent than kids who eat falafal. it may well be true but its bugger all to do with what they are eating.

The reason that there is so much conflicting evidence is becuase bf is having no effect on IQ and what you are seeing is the reflection of the fact that women who chose to bf tend to have higher IQs, as to their children.

It is impossible to'control' this factor out of any observational study because all that means is that the reasercher has taken his or her best guess as to how important that confounding factor is and ajusted their figures accordingly. The results reflect the researcher's method of control and little more.

That is why reserach based on observational studies is so unreliable. If you a collection of studies giving conflicting results then the obvious conclusion to reach is that there is no effect.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 08:37:47

Rollit, the study doesn't look at IQ and bm is more than just food and I really don't think it bears any resemblance to kfc

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 08:39:50

or falafels for that matter

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 08:42:12

The best comparison is fm, if you want to make one, and afaik there isn't any evidence anywhere that suggest fm increases intelligence.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 08:48:34

Also, the reason that mother's education was controlled was because there was a very distinct correlation between it and how likely a moths was to bf. I quoted that part from the study earlier. Other factors were also used as controls to do with lifestyle etc. Have you read the study? Is there one control in particulat that you think they may have left out that would account for the results? Or do you just think it is wrong because in your opinion it is illogical?

arghh Fri 18-Mar-11 08:50:02

bubbleymummy, maybe if you spent more time teaching your children, and less time on this, you wouldnt need to be reassured that bf increases IQ.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 08:52:21

I don't need reassurance about my children's iq. That is not why i decided to bf - just an added bonus In any case, this study doesn't have anything to do with iq.

bonkers20 Fri 18-Mar-11 08:55:04

TSC "and bonkers,you don't know either. it can't be proven so wtf is the point of mentioning it."

I mention it because there IS quite a lot of data supporting the fact that BF children have higher IQ
(statistically, in general...you know what I mean).

There is none (as far as I know) suggesting FF increases IQ.

I think it's rather ignorant of Milamae to completely dismiss all the research based on his/her anecdotal evidence.

tulipgrower Fri 18-Mar-11 08:58:55

I think the most notable piece of information in the article is the fact that Britian has such a low BF rate. And as 'endless Government campaigns' haven't worked, there must be other circustances which prevent women breast feeding, like support, established attitudes in families/society, work pressures, physically crapper norks than the average Swedish lady wink, ...

I think links between diet and behaviour have been proven, so I guess the tiny differences between formula and breast milk could make a tiny difference to brain chemistry too. (For examples: www.foodforthebrain.org, www.fabresearch.org )

hallamoo Fri 18-Mar-11 09:06:46

Surely it's all about balancing risk. It's like people who smoke, they are not all going to die from lung cancer, some will live to a ripe old age and someone who's never smoked may die of lung cancer. It's means that if you smoke your risk is higher.

That's my intepretation of the study.

Also, for those people who think that those who are evangelical about bf are pious, boasting, or judgemental, I'd like to point you in the direction of this link to the 'analytical armadillo', which I think explains really well why people feel so passionately about what they believe in.


TheSecondComing Fri 18-Mar-11 09:15:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 09:26:42

Well I don't think anyone is going to choose to bf solely on the basis of this study because they want to increase their child's intelligence. I actually thought some people who had to give up bf for whatever reason would just like it affirmed that every feed they gave made a difference.

I agree that the UK's figures for bf are quite depressing - moreso because of the drop off rates. It's so promising that so many woman are initiating bf but clearly something is going wrong if the figures drop so quickly after just one week!

AlpinePony Fri 18-Mar-11 09:30:51

Hallamoo - just because because someone writes a post on a blog saying "it's not about being superior" doesn't make it true.

Just like each and every "scientific report" thrown around wrt this issue. ALL data is anecdotal until children are raised in laboratories to prove otherwise.

If my son gets in to Oxbridge it'll have nothing to do with my tits. (Unless I attend the interview with him wearing Vivian Westwood.)

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 09:34:50

AP no one is saying that bm is the ONLY factor affecting intelligence.

Why is this no longer about IQ points? I thought the whole argument from the other thread was that there was a study proving that breastfeeding raised a baby's IQ by up to 6 points.

For me, what is needed here is balance. Yes, breastmilk is the best option, but is it by no means the major factor in a child's intelligence, how good their health is, or how well they do at school.

For example - my boys were exclusively formula fed after the initial few weeks (12 weeks mixed feeding with ds3 was my longest), but when I weaned them, I took care to give them the best diet I could - I did lots of cooking and pureeing of different veg and proteins, and went on to do as much cooking from scratch as possible. I've encouraged them to exercise and take up sports; sent them to bed at a reasonable hour; taught them about hygiene etc, and generally done all I can to make sure they stay healthy.

Dh and I have always surrounded the boys with books, read to them, encouraged them to read, provided them with paper and pencils so they can write and draw whenever they want, supported them at school, helped with homework etc - all things that will help improve their academic performance.

I don't have any figures or studies to back this up, but it is my belief that the things that I have managed to do for them probably far outweigh the 'damage' I did to them by not breastfeeding as long as I wanted to.

I must also say that I wish that the fervour that is being put into arguing the case for breastfeeding was being put into ensuring that the support is available for women like me who want to breastfeed but are struggling for some reason. Given my choice, I would far rather have been given the correct information and support I needed, and breastfed the dses than failing as I did.

And the healthcare professionals need the proper information and training so that they can support breastfeeding from the word 'go'. Ds1 developed neonatal jaundice and had to have phototherapy. Initially I was feeding him 4-hourly because I was told to stick to this routine to ensure he got as much time as possible under the lights. When his serum bilirubin rose instead of falling, a second set of lights was put behind his incubator, and I was told that he needed more calories and more fluids in order to recover, so I had to feed him every three hours and top him up with formula - and I am sure that it was the topping up with formula that spelled the end of breastfeeding for us.

At the time, I simply did what I was told - my pfb had jaundice, and it wasn't improving, and that was bloody scary for me, so there is no way I would have argued with the HCPs and refused to top him up with formula - but I do wonder, in hindsight, whether this was actually neccessary - and I may never know.

Once home, I did try to relactate, by breastfeeding ds as much as he would, and then using a breastpump hired from the NCT and topping him up with the ebm and then formula if he was still hungry - which he always was. On the first day of pumping, I produced a grand total of 4.5oz of breastmilk - and on day 7, after pumping at least 4 times a day for half an hour minimum each time, I produced a grand total of 4.5oz. At this point, I gave up - it seemed clear to me that the pumping wasn't doing any good, and ds was clearly hungry and unhappy unless given formula - so that's what I did.

scottishmummy Fri 18-Mar-11 09:52:54

actually NO you are misrepresenting findings the researchers do not claim bf make may cleverer and she is at pains not to claim a definitive link

Maria Iacovou, one of the authors of the study, said: ‘The issue was that while it looked as though breastfeeding did have an impact on cognitive development, no one knew if that was just because the type of mother more likely to breastfeed in the first place was more likely to nurture brighter children, or whether there was a true causal link

hallamoo Fri 18-Mar-11 10:01:13

AlpinePony - I didn't say it was true, I said it helped to explain why people felt the way they do about it. I take it you didn't read the entire article.

Thesecondcoming - I take it that you didn't read the article either. Lots of people like to make a point of saying that people who are passionate about bf are 'weird' or other similar insults, but I've never heard someone say that someone is 'weird' or insult someone for their choice to ff. To me, it's about making a well-informed decision to support your choice. People who are passionate about bf generally just want to make sure people have all the facts and support when making their feeding decisions. I echo StayingDavidTennantsGirl's comments about support, information and training for health care professionals.

Not weird imo

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 10:03:21

Sdtg - I linked to the study earlier in the thread. It looked at test scores from entry level, ks1,2 and 3 - so not IQ. Even bf for a week made a difference although the main finding was that at least 4 weeks of bf made a significant difference (significant in the scientific meaning of the word) So even your initial few weeks, according to this study would have made a differenceIt was a recent study which was why I posted it because many people on the other thread were arguing about older iq studies.b- perhaps the one you are thinking of?

No one is saying that just because a child was bf they will be intelligent or that a child who wasn't bf has no chance of being intelligent. Of course all the things that you did will have an impact - probably moreso than bf. The point was just that breastfeeding does make a difference - even if it is a small one. I think that is interesting - even if no one else does

I think it is awful that you didn't get the support you needed and wanted and I think, especially in the case of jaundice, that frequent feeding is v important - 4 hourly wouldn't be enough. I think 4 hourly is probably the maximum time a new born will go without a feed!

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 10:09:42

Yes, Scottish mummy, what she is saying was that no one knew if it was the mother's intelligence or education level that impacted the child's intelligence and that's why they did the study and controlled for that. Their conclusion was the bf did make a difference beyond the mother's intelligence (and the other factors they controlled for). I take it you didn't read the paper.

TheSecondComing Fri 18-Mar-11 10:34:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 10:44:35

Ok tsc but I don't think anyone has done that on this thread at all so why are you bringing it up? Or is this thread considered 'beating over the head with a breast is best placard' simply because it is discussing something postive about bf?

hallamoo Fri 18-Mar-11 10:57:23

TheSecondComing - I don't want to get into a debate about this with you, you clearly have very firm opinions which you are not going to deviate from, as do I.

The only point I would make is that I have never, never, experienced bf supporters riding roughshod over people's experiences or seen anyone bludgeoned over the head with 'breast is best' placards (literally or metaphorically), I have only ever seen the reverse, e.g. people who ff throwing insults at people who choose to bf and want to offer their support and knowledge. If people make well informed choices and are aware of all the facts, research opinons, then it makes no difference to me how they feed their babies. This comes back to StayingDavidTennantsGirl's point about the lack of support, training & information for HCP, because, as you say, there are 'people who have very little information about bf and little or no rl experience of it'

I am also 39 weeks with DC4 and have not been asked once by a health care professional how I intend to feed my baby - this is what I consider 'weird'. (or maybe it's the 'weirdo' or 'breast is best' tattoo I have on my forehead?)

TheSecondComing Fri 18-Mar-11 11:05:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 11:09:02

Tsc - can you please stop bringing up posts from the other thread which, in any case, the person who posted them apologised for several times!

I'm not sure why anyone would criticise someone who couldn't bf because they had a double masectomy hmm but I'm not really sure how that changes the 'breast is best' message tbh.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 11:12:26

Can we really not discuss a positive study about bf at the risk of offending someone who is physically unable to bf for a very serious reason? Really? This thread has absolutely nothing to do with how or why someone chooses to bf/ff. Maybe you should start another thread about it if you feel you still have an axe to grind?

TheSecondComing Fri 18-Mar-11 11:13:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 11:14:33

Btp - the other thread went off on tangents that I am trying to avoid. I am trying to discuss the study in relation to intelligence not drag up old comments that have offended people so you can all have another bun fight.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 11:15:48

Tsc - you clearly have issues. Go start a thread about it. This isn't the place. You are the only one being offensive on this thread.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 11:19:30

Wht is a discussion about a study regarding intelligence riding roughshod over someone's feelings? Seriously, who feels guilty that they didn't bf purely because of the effect on intelligence?

TheSecondComing Fri 18-Mar-11 11:29:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hallamoo Fri 18-Mar-11 11:32:17

Sorry, what is this PROOF you are offering? This as far as I can see is one or two (very sad) anecdotes and not the norm at all.

I go back to my original point that bf supporters are in the main, supportive and non-judgemental, whereas you are just throwing insults around for the sake of it, 'weird' 'nutjob' 'bonkers'.

I think I'm going to hide this thread now as it seems that some people are intent on causing offence.

AlpinePony Fri 18-Mar-11 11:38:41

bubbleymummy - I'm afraid you sound close to losing the plot. You keep veering from "this thread is about bf intelligent babies" and "it's not about bf intelligence babies". Do you want to think about what you're arguing for or is it just a general argument? confused

TSC - I am stunned regarding the poster who tried to hurt you last week. shock

The whole lobbyists/lactivists thing just seems to get so out of hand. I remember reading on the bf/ff board about a woman who was out feeding her baby with a bottle and a bf-er sat down at the opposite side of the room and forcefully stuck her boob in her uninterested child's face whilst glaring at the FF! grin Mental!

tulipgrower Fri 18-Mar-11 11:48:34

Just a thought:
If breast milk benefits a babies brain, maybe they should try giving regular doses to people with brain injuries and brain diseases and look for improvement? Even minimal improvement could really improve quality of life.
(I don't think breast milk is magic food, but neither the brain nor breast milk are completely understood and are so complex that neither can be sythesized.)

TheSecondComing Fri 18-Mar-11 11:48:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 11:52:49

Btp - I can blame her for dragging unpleasantness onto this thread by bringing up comments from the previous thread that have nothing to go with what we are discussing. We are talking about intelligence - not health risks - so dead babies do not come in to it. It's a completely unnecessary contribution. We are not discussing the perception of bf supporters in the wider context either.

EmmaBemma Fri 18-Mar-11 11:57:27

really... what purpose does this thread serve? There have been hundreds like it in the history of mumsnet and nothing is ever achieved by them except some people feeling pleased with themselves, other people feeling aggrieved, and others shouldering a fresh load of guilt they could do without.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 12:03:24

Tsc - if you don't want to contribute to THIS thread about THIS study about intelligence and bf then please just hide it and move on. No one is trying to score points here except you and no one is being offensive except you when you throw insults around about people being bonkers for no apparent reason.

Ap, not sure where I've said it's not about intelligence. I've said the study wasn't about IQ if that's what you mean?

Tulip, thank you for actually contributing a valid and interesting post! I think it would be very interesting to find out exactly what it is in bm that leads to these improvements. Seeing as even a week made a difference is it the initial collostrum that lays the foundation as such and is then backed up by the bm itself? I know that there are stem cells in bm so perhaps it could lead to some kind of regeneration of cells for people with brain injuries or even dementia? There was an interesting article yesterday about dementia and identifying which part of the brain was responsible.

MillyR Fri 18-Mar-11 12:05:13

There was an Australian study done (read about it a while ago, so have no link) where women who agreed to participate were given either donated breast milk or formula milk for their babies at random. At school age, there was a significant cognitive difference between the two groups.

That study would suggest that it is what is in the breast milk that makes the difference. It has nothing to say about the type of mother or the act of breast feeding itself.

Other studies have shown that the composition of breast milk varies widely. The fatty acids in breast milk that are important for brain function can be changed by simply altering the type of oil a mother cooks with. It would seem to me that rather than argue over formula vs. breast milk, we should look at exactly what it is in breast milk that has an impact on cognitive development, and make sure that women have the opportunity to consume appropriate foods or buy formula milk that is the best it can be. Our knowledge of both is improving all the time.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 12:06:00

Emma, it's about a recent study - it's ok if you aren't interested in discussing it. You don't have to stay if you don't want to

rainbowstardrops Fri 18-Mar-11 12:07:14

Oh for Heaven's sake, not this old chestnut - AGAIN?!
Before the bf do-gooders start - no I haven't read the old thread because I've literally just returned to mn today after getting totally pee'd off with the righteous idiots that tend to frequent the site - and thought I'd have a nosey in case it had changed. It hasn't.

I tried to bf my ds and it was painful, upsetting, etc, etc. A very young midwife the following day, suggested a bottle of ff. I was beside myself with thoughts of failure ( for weeks and maybe months later). Her theory was "That a happy mum, made a happy baby".

My ds - and me - never looked back. He thrived, I thrived and has from the moment he entered school, was the only pupil to immediately go up a year for his maths and at the end of junior school, is in the top two for every subject - VERY PROUD MUM ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ALL factors, from the time before conception to the day children decide for themselves what they want to do with their bodies and their lives, affect them.

With my dd, I didn't even consider bf because of my past experience. She's absolutely fine!!!!!!!!!!!!

My point is, you could smoke 30 cigs a day but bf - does that make things ok and your child have a so-called better start in life? Or is it better to be a non-smoking mum who tries her hardest to do and eat the right things during her pregnancy and wants the best for her child but bf doesnt suit - for WHATEVER reason and is made to feel so guilty - as I was!?

Saying that bf is best and all the rest of it, is of no help to anyone.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 12:08:52

'It would seem to me that rather than argue over formula vs. breast milk, we should look at exactly what it is in breast milk that has an impact on cognitive development'

I agree MillyR. It would be very interesting to know.

tulipgrower Fri 18-Mar-11 12:11:58

I thought it was an interesting study, in as much as perhaps there is something in breast milk which could be useful for neurological development.

(I'm not sure why people are offended by discussing a study about breast feeding. But then I live in a country where I've never seen a 'breast is best'-type of campaign and breastfeeding support is available, but not agressive (special bf nurses, ointments, nipple shields, gel pads, elec. breast pumps, ... all paid for by the health insurance). And noone cares if you do or don't or mix.)

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 12:12:18

Rainbow, you probably should have read the thread before you posted. We aren't ranting about breast is best at all. It's about a recent study. Sorry you had a hard time with bf - I think everyone agrees that better support is needed. No one is trying to beat you up about ff. If you find the thread offensive or you are sensitive to the subject then you don't have to stay.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 12:13:00

Rainbow, you probably should have read the thread before you posted. We aren't ranting about breast is best at all. It's about a recent study. Sorry you had a hard time with bf - I think everyone agrees that better support is needed. No one is trying to beat you up about ff. If you find the thread offensive or you are sensitive to the subject then you don't have to stay.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 12:13:43

MillyR do you have a link to that Australian study? Tia.

MillyR Fri 18-Mar-11 12:19:41

No, I don't have a link to the study because I read it a long time ago. I do have a lot of references to papers about the composition of breast milk, but they are at work and I am at home today. I will dig them out next week and can send them to you.

There has been quite a bit of work done on changes in composition as a consequence of altering maternal diet, and by changing the amount of foremilk and hindmilk babies consume.

It ultimately benefits everyone, because it can change how people look at food security in developing countries, how women in the UK look at their diet, and helps develop better quality formula milk. Formula milk seems to have improved greatly since I was fed it, and a lot of that is down to better research into exactly what is in breast milk and what impact that has on children's health.

EmmaBemma Fri 18-Mar-11 12:19:57

bubbley - it's got nothing to do with what I personally find interesting or want to discuss. Surely you can see the way this thread has gone? Put it this way - it quite clearly isn't a bunch of people dispassionately discussing the results of a recent study.

MillyR Fri 18-Mar-11 12:23:59

Tulipgrower, there are stems cells in breast milk.

I apologise if I am repeating stuff from the previous thread, which I haven't read.

RubyBuckleberry Fri 18-Mar-11 12:24:06

TheSecondComing you started with the booby gang thing again. Can you not resist? And the tandem feeding zealots. And you mentioned relactation. Again. Which is just really really silly confused.

I think it is something to do with the long chain fatty acids that are building blocks for the brain.

tulipgrower Fri 18-Mar-11 12:29:57

I know heaps of babies which are mixed feed. (lots of different individual reasons) It would be interesting to know if they benefit to a certain percentage, or still benefit to 100%.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 12:33:15

Thanks MillyR, that would be great. It would be very interesting to see what effect variations in diet have on composition. I think it's fascinating that even women in developing countries on very limited diets are still able to produce good quality milk for their babies.

Emma, I'm not giving up yet there are always a few troublemakers on these threads but I'm not going to let them get to me.

Yes Ruby, I've heard that before about the long chain fatty acids.

MillyR Fri 18-Mar-11 12:33:18

It would be interesting to know if being mixed fed by the mother was more beneficial than being fed exclusively on donated milk. Part of the health benefit of breast feeding is the passing of antibodies from the mother to the baby. But babies fed donated milk are being fed antibodies from someone who isn't in close contact with the baby, so will be picking up different pathogens from the baby.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 12:36:04

Tulip, there are some studies that have results from partial bf and exclusive bf. It seems to have a greater impact on some things more than others - I wonder what the effect is in relation to cognitive development. It wasn't really examined in this particular study.

MillyR Fri 18-Mar-11 12:38:01

I think that for women who are in developing countries who may not have access to all the facilities needed to store and prepare formula milk properly, it is really important that they are given good support so that they can breast feed. But I also think that it is important that governments are aware of the impact of diet in breast milk variation, so that women are not denied a high quality diet with lots of long chain fatty acids on the basis that the government just thinks in terms of providing calories and doesn't make food that is of high nutritional standard available.

RubyBuckleberry Fri 18-Mar-11 12:38:02

does anyone know of any research using breastfed for four years babies/children - seeing as the brain is developing for longer than a year or whatever?

RubyBuckleberry Fri 18-Mar-11 12:39:15

MillyR does the mother need lots of long chain fatty acids to ensure her milk has them?

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 12:41:24

Yes, although being fed donated milk isn't usually a longterm thing though. I suppose it would really depend what you were actually stuffing. The antibodies clearly make sense in relation to the health aspect. I wonder how much missing out on early collostrum would have an impact even if they go on to be fed donated milk?

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 12:42:43

Ruby - I think the main problem would be trying to find a big enough study group - particularly in the UK!

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 12:43:16

Stuffing = studying!

tulipgrower Fri 18-Mar-11 12:43:48

MillyR - which foods contain long chain fatty acids?
(can't they just add then to formula milk)

RubyBuckleberry Fri 18-Mar-11 12:43:55

oh yeah good point

MillyR Fri 18-Mar-11 12:45:35

Rb, if I remember correctly, there was variation between short, medium and long chain fatty acids depending on the mothers diet. That particular study was of women in two different locations and both groups had access to a limited range of foods (but different from each other). A concern in the UK might be the presence of trans fats in breast milk and the diet of babies in general.

RubyBuckleberry Fri 18-Mar-11 12:45:35

tulip they kind of do - the long chain fatty acids in formula are made from fermented algae and fungus i think. i know that martek make are the USA distributor but i am not sure about the Uk. There has been some controversy over the fatty acids in formula though although that may have been resolved...

MillyR Fri 18-Mar-11 12:49:35

TG, I thought they had added various fatty acids to formula milk now. Is that not the case?

Certain fatty acids are in marine sources and seeds. The women in the composition study were getting them from seed oil; I believe they had no access to marine foods.

AlpinePony Fri 18-Mar-11 12:49:43

Well that's another reason why I think the "breast is best" is a crock of shit. You only need to read the bf-lactavists on the post-natal threads to see their kids get sick - breastmilk does not prevent childhood diseases, failures of driving test or prevent your PFB from getting their heart broken during Fresher's week.

If it was so fucking good we'd all drink it and you'd be able to buy it from Tesco in 4 litre cartons farmed from women elsewhere in the world.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 12:51:19

Yes, I thought that's what the fish oil in formula was for - omega 3?

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 12:52:21

Lovely AP no one is saying that bm guarantees anything.

tulipgrower Fri 18-Mar-11 12:56:01

just remembered I have a box of formula, (Nestle BEBA HA Start PRE), in the cellar. I had a look, long chain fatty acids are listed and the box claims it's important for brain development and vision.
Maybe if the research is repeated in a few years, there will be no difference anymore, due to the improvements in formula?

blackeyedsusan Fri 18-Mar-11 12:57:02

can i say <preens> i fed dd for 13m and ds for (counts up from 24 on fingers)(non breast fed mummy) 30 (eek) months?

<runs off to hide the formula bottles and tins we supplemented with from week 3 and day 3>

thanks op it is really interesting and i promise to at least have a go at reading the article. (it would be interesting to know what effect breastfeeding haas on the intelligence of the mother because i swear my brain haas turned to pink fluff)

AlpinePony Fri 18-Mar-11 12:57:44

Well fgs, stop acting like you're raising an uber-race. You're not. You're just another middle-class mum with too much time on your hands who quite frankly needs to get a hobby.

Your child is not better than mine because you ram your tit in its face.

RubyBuckleberry Fri 18-Mar-11 12:57:58

I was just about to say that tulipgrower - are there any older studies that have a bigger difference in outcome because formula didn't contain fish oil?

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 12:58:50

I doubt it tulip. I don't think it will ever be possible to replicate bm and no one really knows exactly what it is that affects cognitive development anyway.

RubyBuckleberry Fri 18-Mar-11 13:00:45

someone on a comments board - a physicist - was saying that breastfeeding is better for the brain because of the amount of pressure in the mouth and on the head in general as a boob is bigger that a teat... i'll try and find it...

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 13:00:46

No one is acting like they AP - I think you're just a bit over sensitive.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RubyBuckleberry Fri 18-Mar-11 13:02:31

Their reasoning is faulty of course. They still insist on assigning a chemical cause to it.

"The reason breast feeding is better than bottle feeding is the diameter and pressure of the breast is much greater than the diameter and pressure of a bottle.

When suckling, the baby has maybe a 4 inch diameter breast it is suckling on. That has specific physical effects on the baby a physics man could tell these medical people about.

The pressure of the 4 inch breast on the baby's face compared to the non existent pressure of a 1/2 inch bottle nipple on the babies mouth also figures into the physical and mental changes taking place. A physics man can also explain what is going on here to the medical people."

No idea if it is true but interesting!

from here scroll down - name is Happeh

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 13:05:56

I've never heard that before ruby!

TheSecondComing Fri 18-Mar-11 13:06:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 13:07:31

Btp - have you even read the paper I linked to before you dismiss it as 'woo' ?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

eviscerateyourmemory Fri 18-Mar-11 13:13:23

I would be good if the specific reasons for the difference in IQ (and other health differences) could be identified. I expect that there is never going to be a time when everyone is able to breastfeed or use donated milk, so this kind of research could help to improve the composition of formula milk.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 13:15:16

Ok then hmm maybe you would like to share your findings with us then?

TheSecondComing Fri 18-Mar-11 13:17:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

eviscerateyourmemory Fri 18-Mar-11 13:21:27


Wouldnt your objection apply to virtually all forms of research, not just infant feeding?

skybluepearl Fri 18-Mar-11 13:24:11

Formula is great but i believe breast milk is just magic food. 6 IQ points is a very small difference - not enough to make any profound difference. Its all the other mother/baby health benefits that interest me. I also love the fact they give breast milk to premmies and the very ill sometimes.

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 16:06:23

Umm no btp- I don't think there's any one thing that can guarantee intelligence. I don't think that not knowing what it is in bm that has led to intelligence means it is unfounded or 'woo'. There are lots of things in this world that we don't fully understand yet but that doesn't mean they don't happen/exist.

Tsc - what eviscerate said

MissyKLo Fri 18-Mar-11 19:05:01

Can't believe the rubbish that the totally defensive alpinepony has written

Unbelievable a how many people choose to be so deluded about the benefits of breast milk

ambarth Fri 18-Mar-11 19:59:45

I've been breastfeeding for the past two years and the little bastard still hasn't found the cure for cancer...

bubbleymummy Fri 18-Mar-11 20:38:06

give him time ambarth - you never know!

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