The results of a new breastfeeding study were released just a few weeks ago. It has been quite controversial due to its conclusions. Some are taking the results as "proof" that breast milk isn't all it is cracked up to be. However, many prominent researchers and organizations have examined the structure of the study and do not feel the results are exactly as they appear.
Firstly, one study's results do not refute the results of hundreds of study. Secondly, the study did not differentiate between a child who was breastfed for one day, one year, or three years; a child was only listed as having been breastfed or not having been breastfed at all. Many advantages of breastfeeding are dose dependent so the longer breastfeeding takes place, the more protection is conferred. Thirdly, according to a post by the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine the study ignores what happened to the participants during their first four years of life and does not acknowledge the many ways breastfeeding has been found to save babies with serious conditions such as necrotizing enterocolitis and pneumonia among others. It also ignored the health benefits of breastfeeding for the mother such as protection from ovarian cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. The study also seemed to forget to mention the increasing evidence that shows that formula feeding increases the risk of SIDS. Another issue with the study, according to The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, was that the researchers felt than by studying siblings, they would be studying children in the same exact environment. However, this isn't true; siblings do not share identical life circumstances even though they live in the same house.
Based on the myriad of studies that have shown breastfeeding to increase a child's IQ to prevent many illnesses in both mom and baby, to contribute to bonding between mom and baby, to effectively space babies (Ecological breastfeeding), I think we can safely say that breastfeeding is definitely worth it!
Here are a few other critiques of the sibling breastfeeding study:
LLL Great Britain
Baby Milk Action