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Breastfed babies cry… more?

New research claims breastfed babies are more likely to be cranky and take longer to settle than their formula fed counterparts

Posted: 11 January 2012
by Kimberley Smith
Breastfeeding, breast feeding, real baby milk
Breast is still best

We know breast is best. Studies have proved it, government advice recommends it for the first six months and babies thrive on it. But today’s headlines seem to suggest that babies who are exclusively breastfed cry more and are trickier to settle, which flies in the face of everything we’ve been told.

But before we jump to any conclusions, it’s worth taking a better look at the research. For a start, it was a very small study, with just 300 mums asked to assess their babies’ mood and temperament. And secondly, crying and sometimes being a bit cranky is pretty normal behaviour for babies!

Rather than put mums off breastfeeding, the research could help them understand their babies better and give parents more realistic expectations. Breastfeeding is often touted as a cure-all for babies but it’s important for mums to remember that hunger isn’t the only reason babies cry.

The researchers also added that formula fed babies may cry less because, just like for adults, eating is a comfort. "Bottle-fed babies may appear more content,” said lead investigator Dr Ken Ong, “But research suggests that these infants may be overnourished and gain weight too quickly.”

Ultimately all babies are different and it’s important for mums to bond with their newborns and understand their cues for food and other desires or discomforts. Find out more about breastfeeding and troubleshoot any difficulties.

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