Breastfed babies 'are more cranky and cry more'

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Breastfed babies 'are more cranky and cry more'
5
Fri, 01-13-2012 - 3:42am

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008

I think this is a fairly small number of people to have researched, and also a fairly subjective way of doing it.

Anecdotally, all three of my children were 'good' babies. The most difficult time for me was when one of my children was around age 3 to 6 months and I was W & P. He would wake 8 to 10 times a night, but from what others here have described, I now know he was reverse cycling. It was too much for me though to be woken that much, then go and teach full-time, along with having a one year old toddler.

Especially with my youngest, I practised what would now be called attachment parenting, and he was an absolutely wonderful baby, a joy to be with from the earliest age. But perhaps if I had not seen that he 'needed to cluster feed practically non-stop for three hours or so each evening, and decided he did not need feeding, he may well have responded by have the grizzles instead. Perhaps some mothers whose BF babies are cranky are trying to stretch out the feed times more like a bottle fed baby would do, or some other expectation they have, and if they had a real idea of the needs of a BF baby, and responded accordinly, the baby would not get so cranky. I don't know, just surnmising on a possibility.

Teresa

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006

the reason formula babies are so serene could well be because they are overfed.

Oh.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008

I think most parents who have had more than one child would alll say that each child is born with their own personality. Some babies are more placid, and others have high needs. Some babies like to be held more, comfort nurse more and so on. Always best to go with the flow, and respond to whatever the needs of the baby are.

I also did notice with my babies though, that if they were in my arms, they might squirm and look for breastmilk, and take a long time to settle, even if they were tired. Whereas, if I handed them to my husband, they would settle and be sound asleep in minutes with him. They were tired rather than hungry, and he did have a good techniques for settling them. But his techniques would not work for me, as the baby knew I had milk.

Teresa

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
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I'm was also concerned about the small sample size of babies used in the study as well as the methodology for judging the babies temperament being a bit subjective when I saw this article and few others on the study. But what also bothers me is how people are interpreting this study's result. The authors tried to make it very clear that the results of this study do not demonstrate that breastfeeding is no longer best, as they state that other research suggest that this is the result of being overfeed and thus not truly a benefit of formula. But of course people are now using this study to try and knock BF'ing and suggest that this demonstrates a benefit of formula when in fact it does not. They authors point was that we should not look this the fact that BF babies seem more cranky and cry more (if this study is to be believed) as a negative but rather something normal.

I read an article some time ago that talked about how in African countries where babies are mostly BF'd, mostly carried around on the mom (as in baby-wearing) most of the time, and free to BF or comfort nurse whenever the baby wanted/needed too, colic was much rarer then in the West. This suggest to me that maybe BF babies are not inherently cranky or frequent criers but rather that differences in how Western moms parent may contribute to this. That may mean becuase many moms in the West do not have the luxury of always carrying our babies and allowing complete unrestricted access to comfort nursing, we may have to tolerate some more crankiness and crying the you might find in many tribal cultures.

The most important thing to take away from this study is that even if this study's result are valid, that does not mean that mothers should FF to have less cranky, less crying babies. If the reason FF babies are less cranky and cry less is being overfeed that could lead to obesity as well as there is some evidence it could lead to a higher risk of SIDS. Unfortunately, I'm many FF defenders will run with the headlines of articles on this study like "Breastfed babies 'are more cranky and cry more'" and use that to justify choosing to FF, ignoring what the study author's conclusions actually where. For those FF defenders that actually read the conclusion, they are now going around and trying to use this to bash BF advocates by claiming this study supports a benefit of BF'ing but that the author anti-formula bias is preventing them from recognizing this and thus leading them to try misuse the study still try and support BF'ing as best and to knock FF'ing. The fact is that the study results, which may not even be that valid, are not being misinterpreted by BF advocates to support support BF'ing and knock formula as far as I can see so I don't see this complaint as valid. While I understand that mothers who wish to FF are desperate to find as many benefits of FF'ing they can use to justify their choice to accept subject their child to the health risk of formula by choice, I don't think this study supports their cause. I think they may just have to accept that if they possibility that the benefits of FF'ing by choice may not outweigh the short and long term risks to their child and that it's possible they will be FF'ing more for there own perceived short term benefit rather then child's.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008


I read an article some time ago that talked about how in African countries where babies are mostly BF'd, mostly carried around on the mom (as in baby-wearing) most of the time, and free to BF or comfort nurse whenever the baby wanted/needed too, colic was much rarer then in the West. This suggest to me that maybe BF babies are not inherently cranky or frequent criers but rather that differences in how Western moms parent may contribute to this. That may mean becuase many moms in the West do not have the luxury of always carrying our babies and allowing complete unrestricted access to comfort nursing, we may have to tolerate some more crankiness and crying the you might find in many tribal cultures.
I think that this is a very important point. If mothers were able to comfort nurse freely and so on, things may be very different. I also think that some people have a tendency to interpret the comfort nursing that some babies need as a sign that the mother's milk is not good enough, or as a sign of low supply. When in reality, it is just the need of that particular baby.