Breastfeeding offers many health benefits to babies and mothers, and the list is still growing! According to a new Danish study, breastfed children have fewer seizures than those who were not, and the longer a child nurses, the more the chance of seizures goes down. The research team from Denmark set out to see if they could find a link between breastfeeding and epilepsy rates. Their findings were interesting, although not without criticism.
The researchers from the School of Public Health at the University of Aarhus in Denmark followed 70,000 Danish children, born between 1996 and 2000, and looked at infant feeding methods and the prevalence of epilepsy. Those children who were nursed for at least three months had a one in 135 chance of getting epilepsy after age one. Babies who received breast milk for at least six months had a lesser chance one in 150. Those who ere breastfed for nine months only had a one in 200 chance of developing epilepsy, according to the study. And the new study also looked into a correlation between an early introduction of solid foods and epileptic seizure rates. Those who received only breast milk and nothing else for four months had a one in 175 chance of seizures. I don't think many people introduce solids before four months, though!
But there are also skeptics... Dr Michael Kramer, professor of pediatrics at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, was quoted by Reuters as saying that the findings that epilepsy is linked to a lack of breastfeeding should be "taken with a grain of salt, because it just hasn't been studied very much." He then goes on to say that "breastfeeding isn't as easy as many people think it is, but formula feeding doesn't have any known advantages over breastfeeding". Wow, paid by formula companies much, Dr Kramer? And actually, 70,000 children is quite a significant sample! Would you like to read more about breastfeeding? Check out menstrual cycles after weaning and can you have IVF while breastfeeding?