Breastfed babies cry more and smile less

Breast may be 'best' according to health experts - but breastfeeding also makes babies more irritable and prone to crying according to new research

Breast may be ‘best’ according to health experts – but breastfeeding also makes babies more irritable and prone to crying according to new research.

Babies who are breastfed cry more and smile less than those who are bottle-fed, according to a leading paediatrician.

Researchers at University of Cambridge discovered that bottlefed babies tend to be more placid because they eat more and consequently feel calmer.

But mothers are being urged not to give up on breastfeeding, with experts saying that crying is a natural part of the mother-baby interaction.

The study – and the comments it has provoked – are likely to add further fuel to the already controversial subject of breastfeeding versus formula.

The government recommends breastfeeding exclusively for six months, but only a third of new mothers breastfeed past four months.

‘Bottle-fed babies may appear more content, but research suggest that these infants may be over-nourished and gain weight too quickly,’ says Ken Ong, the University of Cambridge scientist who led the study.

Janine Stockdale, a Royal College of Midwives research fellow, says that it’s important that women aren’t led to believe that breastfeeding will be easy. At the same time, she said there shouldn’t be a ‘blanket attitude’ that all women should breastfeed. ‘It’s not the role of the health professional to make value judgments.’

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