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We know breast milk is the preferred method of feeding a newborn, but here's another benefit to breastfeeding: It could impact your child's metabolism.
A new study conducted by French researchers finds babies who were breast-fed for their first four months of life had different growth and metabolic rates than babies fed formula, the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the newspaper, researchers looked at three years worth of data that followed the feeding patterns of 234 kids. During the first four months of life, one group, the Times says, was strictly breastfed, while two other groups were fed either a low- or high-protein formula.
At just 15 days of life, the Times reports, the babies who were only breastfed showed lower blood insulin levels than the formula-fed newborns, and, by age 3, the high-protein formula-fed babies had higher blood pressure readings than the breastfed babies, although the readings were still considered normal.
The study, presented this week at the annual Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Denver, "suggests that if breastfeeding is not possible, infants should be fed formula that has a metabolic profile as close to human breast milk as possible," the Times reports.