Breast-feeding might be no more beneficial than bottle-feeding for 10 of 11 long-term health and well-being outcomes in children age 4 to 14, finds a new study comparing siblings who were fed differently during infancy.
The outlier was asthma, which was associated more with breast-feeding than with bottle-feeding.
The study also included an analysis of outcomes across families of different races and socioeconomic circumstances for comparison purposes, and those results matched other studies suggesting that breast-feeding's benefits to children outweigh bottle-feeding.
The lead researcher noted that there is a clear reason for that.
"Many previous studies suffer from selection bias. They either do not or cannot statistically control for factors such as race, age, family income, mother's employment - things we know that can affect both breast-feeding and health outcomes," Cynthia Colen, assistant professor of sociology at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study, said.
"Moms with more resources, with higher levels of education and higher levels of income, and more flexibility in their daily schedules are more likely to breast-feed their children and do so for longer periods of time," she said.
The study is published in the journal Social Science and Medicine.