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Breastfeeding study used to misrepresent Breastmilk - by EB!

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#1 taddie

Posted 03 March 2014 - 04:32 PM

A study hotly debated in a recent thread has as feared been misinterpreted and presented as making false claims about breastmilk - by our own dear EB!

In a post from the Essential Baby Facebook account we learn:

"A new study suggests there's nothing in a mother's milk that boosts brain development"

... which is absolutely untrue.


Surely this Facebook post can't stay in its current form. It might mislead mothers.

#2 lucky 2

Posted 03 March 2014 - 04:43 PM

I'm not fussed on the challenging of whether or not bfing leads to a higher IQ but if the study suggests that "there is nothing in a mother's milk that boosts the baby's brain development" then that is ridiculous.

Nothing in breast milk that promotes brain development?
How on earth do bfed babies brains develop then if there is "nothing" in human milk for that purpose?

Edited by lucky 2, 03 March 2014 - 06:02 PM.

#3 Oriental lily

Posted 03 March 2014 - 04:51 PM

I read it that there was nothing in breast milk that assists in brain development that formula can not provide.

You just shouldn't read it so literally.

Not sure how this is not a spin  of thread from a closed thread though?

#4 F.E.B.E

Posted 03 March 2014 - 04:54 PM

If you read the text again, it is talking about this study in particular and what it SUGGESTS.

We reported on the story in this way to focus on what other factors influence brain development.

The article - or even the studies cited - are not saying that breast milk has no benefits.

I think it is almost impossible to report on this topic without offending someone!

#5 Liv_DrSperm_sh

Posted 03 March 2014 - 04:56 PM

I agree that the wording is misleading...the study was trying to isolate the effect of breastfeeding over other environmental and genetic factors and couldn't find an effect...

However, what is it in breastmilk that you think 'boosts brain development'?

#6 F.E.B.E

Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:00 PM

We will take another look at the headline but please read the actual article before making up your mind, it can be hard to condense research findings in to a readable headline.

#7 deejie

Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:04 PM

From the article:
"Breastfeeding has long been linked to higher child IQs, but a new study suggests there is nothing in a mother's milk that boosts the baby's brain development"

Nothing in a mother's milk that boosts the baby's brain development. As lucky2 said, how on earth does the brain of a BF baby develop then? Very silly wording.

Don't even get me started on promoting the findings of a study (Colen's) whose data set has been seriously critiqued world over since the "results" (and I use this term very loosely because I don't believe any conclusions can be drawn from such a flawed data set) have been released.

#8 taddie

Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:07 PM

There's DHA and ARA in breastmilk that certainly does boost brain development, brains are made of DHA. There wasn't either in formula when this studies data was collected and that's the reason for the large gaps in IQ and up until age 5, eyesight.

Now there's DHA and ARA in formula as well but there wasn't when the study was conducted. It wasn't added until something like 2002.

#9 taddie

Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:09 PM

I actually don't think this study should have been publicised to mothers until it was examined by experts a bit more. I honestly expect there will be a large number of problems with the assumptions and what the outcomes imply, which is not what the study finds in truth.

#10 taddie

Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:13 PM

To be precise - since the introduction of GOLD formulas in 2002 that contained DHA and ARA or "omega threes" there has been no difference between formula and breastmilk in terms of structural brain development as long as the type of omega 3 used in the formula was bioavailable to the baby (correctly absorbable - there were a few formulas that had omega 3s added but in the wrong form so they were unable to be taken up and brain development suffered).

#11 JinksNewton

Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:35 PM

From now on, when someone spams a thread by posting 3 or more consecutive posts with no replies inbetween, I'll be calling it Tamming a thread. Look for it in Urban Dictionary by years end.
Regarding the article, I'm not sure how misleading the title is. Breastmilk develops a baby's brain, sure, that's not the same thing as BOOSTING development more than other sources. I don't really think it does much, not compared with other things we do for a child's development (ie sufficient good quality sleep, ample stimulation and learning opportunities, hell, just reading a book every day to your child)
I do agree with the PP who said this should have been studied in more depth before releasing it to the public.

#12 Soontobegran

Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:58 PM

I thought exactly the same thing.

#13 Paddlepop

Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:21 PM

Like redkris had pointed out, the key word here is "boosts". It doesn't say that breast milk doesn't contribute to brain development, just that it doesn't boost it.

Clearly a spin off thread and one that publicly criticises EB must be acceptable if both a mod and the Editor have posted in it and not closed it.

Edited by lucky 2, 03 March 2014 - 06:27 PM.
r/o response to deleted quote

#14 Tikvah

Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:23 PM

I stand corrected.

#15 lucky 2

Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:24 PM

View Postmrsznasty, on 03 March 2014 - 05:45 PM, said:

I thought you weren't allowed to start a thread about a locked thread? :shrug:
It raises a issue that was not discussed in the closed thread and as Ebeditor has responded it will stay open at this stage.

If a member has a concern about an EB article or FB post they are welcome to make personal contact with Ebeditor/Amber or any member of the Admin team.

Please do not descend into mocking each other, I will moderate to remove such posts.


lucky 2


Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:30 PM

I think all studies should be available not just ones that suit a patricular viewpoint of a particular group.

#17 Squeekums The Elf

Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:32 PM

View Postredkris, on 03 March 2014 - 05:35 PM, said:

From now on, when someone spams a thread by posting 3 or more consecutive posts with no replies inbetween, I'll be calling it Tamming a thread. Look for it in Urban Dictionary by years end.

Love it!

#18 Owliegirl

Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:40 PM

I think it is clear that the article is saying that the breast milk does not boost the development over which would naturally occur or occurs in otherwisely fed babies.

#19 F.E.B.E

Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:41 PM

The article is mainly about the less-publicised Brigham University Study.


Breastfeeding has long been linked to higher child IQs, but a new study suggests there is nothing in a mother's milk that boosts the baby's brain development. Instead, researchers say other parenting practices often displayed by breastfeeding mothers are the reason for the cognitive leap in breastfed babies.

A study by sociologists at Brigham Young University in the US found that responding to child’s emotional cues and reading to them from the age of nine months were the two factors which lead to an increase in a child's IQ. Lead study author Ben Gibbs said breastfeeding mothers tend to do both of those things.

“It’s really the parenting that makes the difference,” said Gibbs. “Breastfeeding matters in others ways, but this actually gives us a better mechanism and can shape our confidence about interventions that promote school readiness.”


The actual headline on the article is "Breast is best - but other things matter too".

#20 Fright bat

Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:43 PM

View PostPaddlepop, on 03 March 2014 - 06:21 PM, said:

Like redkris had pointed out, the key word here is "boosts". It doesn't say that breast milk doesn't contribute to brain development, just that it doesn't boost it.


Forget about urban dictionary. People ought to get out a real dictionary before they get all upset about stuff.

Babies brains develop if they are given food. The question is whether one food source leads to better brain development than another (aka 'boosts' it).

This study shows that there is no difference in IQ between breastfed and bottle fed babies. At a population level. The same thing multiple other studies and a Cochrane review on the subject have shown. It suggests that both breastmilk and formula contribute similarly to brain development.

I hardly think EB has been negligent in posting this, as it is consistent with other available knowledge.

ETA - I know I've said 'Cochrane review' a few times. I might explain what a Cochrane review is. It's where a group of specialist epidemiologists and clinicians do a thorough literature search and pull ALL the available papers on an area of interest. They then sit down, read them all, and assess them all for scientific rigour. Only studies which were suitably well performed make the cut. This subgroup of studies are then rigorously analysed with the data from the best papers in an area pooled together, and this is used to reach a conclusion. This review is sent out for peer review and multiple other specialist epidemiologists ensure that the review has been done to the most rigorous standard.

Because the conclusions come from the pooled data of multiple high quality studies, a Cochrane review is considered the highest level of available evidence on any matter.

Edited by AvadaKedavra, 03 March 2014 - 06:52 PM.

#21 F.E.B.E

Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:53 PM

I don't think this is a spin off thread because it is about an EB facebook post/article and that article references an additional study than the locked thread did (I believe).

I do think it is a topic worth discussing and it was a shame the other one had to be closed due to the overbearing and plain nasty posts that were appearing.

I would hate to see this thread head the same way.

#22 echolalia

Posted 03 March 2014 - 07:53 PM

If EB really supports breastfeeding then its writers should really stop using the outdated "Breast is best" slogan, which actually does more harm than good.



Edited by catnapper, 03 March 2014 - 07:53 PM.

#23 Oriental lily

Posted 03 March 2014 - 08:24 PM

Will changing the slogan from breast is breast to breast  feeding is normal really going to make a difference?

The reason why breastfeeding is treated like its a high level of achievement is because for many many woman its HARD.

Its really patronising  for all those struggling new parents to have the idea that bf is normal rammed down their throat when they are struggling . Personally for me even more so then the breast is best message .

Yes breastfeeding is normal But for many it certainly does not come naturally.

In Australia I have never came across a new mum or pregnant woman who though botte feeding  was the normal way to feed a baby.

Formula feeding has always been considered the lesser way.

In the UK it might be different.

#24 Ellie bean

Posted 03 March 2014 - 08:31 PM

I've only got one thing to say- I bet nobody would be questioning the rigorousness of the study or suggesting it shouldn't have been published, if the conclusion were different.

#25 Oriental lily

Posted 03 March 2014 - 08:39 PM

Also that second article posted is  the biggest load of  insulting crap I have ever read.

No references to all those claims and consistently comparing formula feeding to exposure to tobacco smoke clearly shows why articles like the one this thread is about is needed for balance.

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