Breast Milk: The Answer to Preventing Childhood Obesity

Having a baby changes your body in ways that you didn’t think possible. Your tummy grows to accommodate your baby; your boobs start to feel like Dolly Parton and heck, even your pelvic joints and ligaments soften...

Childhood obesity is a major public health issue in Australia, associated with significant risk for chronic disease.

A Growing Problem for Australian Children

Did you know that 1 in 4 Australian children between the ages of 2-17 are overweight or obese?

For many years, the belief has been that rapid growth in an infant is detrimental later in life and that the only relationship between the growth of the baby was thought to be the volume of milk: more volume, more growth.

A New Way of Looking at Obesity in Breastfed Babies

The gap in research is that, in the past, measuring obesity in breastfed babies has focused exclusively on the growth rate of the baby.

Dr Geddes’ research is the first of its kind in that it debunks longstanding breast milk myths in regards to infant body composition and appetite regulation.

This is due to the fact that previous studies of obesity and body composition were carried out on formula-fed babies, which lacks many of the components that are in breast milk.

A Fascinating Result!

It appears the combination of the concentration components in breast milk ensure the development of the right amount of fat and muscle for each baby.

Dr Geddes’s research finds that, it’s not size per se, or weight, that really affects an infant’s body composition.

This is due to the appetite-controlling hormones- leptin and adiponectin- which are also present in some of infant formula milks, but in lower doses, which cannot adapt to the individual infant’s diet or stage of development.

This means that the unique programming qualities found in breast milk operate very differently, with its unique ability to tailor every feed to the infant’s needs and provide a precise dose of required hormones.

They’re also more likely to take in a more varied diet – here’s to kids who enjoy trying new foods!

So, What Does All This Mean?

Babies who receive breast milk in their diet have the best chance for their hormones to self-regulate and prevent the likelihood of childhood obesity.

Mother’s Milk, Everyday Amazing!

Dr Geddes will be presenting her findings at the 14th International Breastfeeding and Lactation Symposium on the 4 - 5 April 2019 in London.

What do you think of these results? Let’s have a conversation here or on the Medela Australia Facebook page.