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From: (Jonathan R. Fox)
Subject: Re: Bottle feeding/breastfeeding
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2000 05:01:00 GMT

On Sun, 06 Feb 2000 23:13:38 +0000, "D. C. & M. V. Sessions"
<> wrote:
>John wrote:
>> "Research conducted by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health
>> Sciences estimated that for every 1,000 infants born in this country each
>> year, four will die because they were artificially fed."
>Wow!  So since there are about 4,000,000 children born in the USA
>each year, that would be a death rate of 16,000 per year.  Total
>child mortality runs about 40,000 per year and complications of
>birth, prematurity, and birth defects (perinatal mortality) add
>up to about 14,000-16,000 of those.  (Presumably the benefits of
>breastfeeding are irrelevant to those who never get the chance.)

Actually, premature infants benefit from breastmilk, as it reduces the
incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis, a frequently deadly
complication of prematurity.  Although I wonder if gavage-feeding
pumped breastmilk to a 600g fetus ex utero counts as "artificially

>Which means that if the "U.S. National Institute of Environmental
>Health Sciences" (couldn't find them in the Federal Register)

It's one of the National Institutes of Health.

>is to be believed, two out of three (non-perinatal) child deaths
>result from bottle feeding.  That includs everything from car
>accidents to drowning.
>Amazing, isn't it, that nobody ever noticed?

I couldn't find that study on the NIESH web site.  I doubt John could
provide a link to it.

My guess is that it's a gross overestimation and probably
misinterpretation of NIESH data.  They probably blamed every SIDS
death of bottle-fed babies on the bottle feeding, instead of
calculating relative risks.  Same for infections known to be more
common in bottle-fed babies.

>Especially since bottle feeding is relatively rare.


Probably about half of all kids never breastfeed (at least in 1990,
according to the AAP), and by six months most are on formula.  Bottle
feeding is VERY common.

Breast is best.  Nothing in a bottle beats breastmilk for the first
four to six months.  It reduces respiratory and diarrheal illnesses,
reduces the incidence of SIDS, costs less, and enhances bonding.
There are variable requirements for supplemental iron, fluoride, and
vitamin D, but that's easily taken care of.

However, I'd like to know how many lives are saved by bottle feeding
per 1,000 infants born.  This includes mothers with HIV, and infants
who would end up retarded or dead due to inborn errors of metabolism
were it not for special formulas.

Jonathan R. Fox, M.D.

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