Babies fed formula are at greater risk for:
Otitis media (ear infections)
Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)
RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus)
HIB (Hemophilus Influenza type B)
Death (twice as likely during the first year)
Babies, children and adults who were given formula are more likely to have:
Urinary tract infections
Higher blood pressure
Diabetes, Types 1 and 2
Hodgkin's disease (lymphoma)
Auto-immune thyroid disease
Child abuse and neglect
Peanut allergy (soy formula)
Oral malocclusion (requiring braces)
Dental caries (cavities)
Mothers who don't breastfeed increase their chances of developing:
Type 2 diabetes
In addition, there are other risks associated with formula use.
* Manufacturing errors, including:
Contaminants (recent example: metal shavings in recalled formula, 2006)
Bacteria (example: 25% of U.S. powdered formula contains enterobacter sakazakii)
Formulation errors (recent example: Vitamin C accidentally left out, 2006)
* Contaminants in the water used for mixing formula (examples: nitrates in rural well water, lead from old plumbing, fluoride or iodine in excess of what is recommended for infants)
* Errors in preparation, resulting in formula that is too concentrated or too watered down, which can lead to illness including kidney damage, NEC, water intoxication, hyponatremia, dehydration, seizures, or irregular heartbeat.
Don't be fooled by formula advertising that tries to convince mothers that formula is almost as good as mother's milk or that it has "special" ingredients that are good for babies. Breastmilk is alive, is designed by nature for human babies and has many elements that cannot be copied in a factory or a laboratory.
Many people are shocked to find out just how much difference breastfeeding makes to life-long health. An April 2007 report* found the following:
Babies age 28 days to 1 year who are not breastfed have a 25% higher mortality (death) rate.
Babies who have never been breastfed have twice the risk of ear infections of babies breastfed at least three months.
The risk of gastrointestinal illnesses is 178% higher for not-breastfed babies.
The risk of hospitalization for lower respiratory tract infections is more than 257% higher for babies not breastfed.
Not-breastfed babies are 37 - 66% more likely to develop asthma.
Babies' risk of obesity is reduced 4% for each month they are breastfed.
Babies who are weaned before three months of age are 23.5 - 37% more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes.
Babies who are never breastfed are 64% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Babies who are never breastfed have a 56.3% increased risk of dying from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Babies who are weaned before six months of age have 23.5% increased risk of developing ALL, a childhood leukemia, compared to babies breastfed longer.
Babies who are weaned before six months of age have 17.6% increased risk of developing AML, another childhood leukemia, compared to babies breastfed longer.
Mothers who do not breastfeed have a 38.8% increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to mothers who have breastfed for at least one year.
Mothers who never breastfeed have a 26.6% increased risk of ovarian cancer over mothers who choose to breastfeed.
Mothers who breastfeed decrease their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 4.2 - 13.6% for every year they breastfeed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Diatetic Association (ADA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) all recommend mothers breastfeed their babies. Current recommendations are to exclusively breastfeed for about six months and thereafter to continue breastfeeding while introducing solid foods and to continue breastfeeding for at least one (AAP) to two (WHO) years.
* by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services entitled "Breastfeeding and Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes in Developed Countries"