Not only what, but how, infants are fed has potential to influence health outcomes. Feeding modality (e.g. breast vs bottle) may play a key role in shaping children’s eating behaviors and caregivers’ feeding practices as children develop. Human milk is the optimal food for infants, however Nova Scotia has among the lowest breastfeeding rates in Canada, with less than one quarter of infants receiving Health Canada’s recommended 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Pumping milk has grown in popularity in recent years for many reasons, such as stigma with breastfeeding in public, or because pumping allows other caregivers to help with feeding. Expressed human milk is commonly equated with breastfeeding, however, since pumped milk is fed from a bottle, research is needed to determine if various health benefits are maintained regardless of feeding modality.
Funded by a Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation Establishment Grant. Check out pages 8-9 of the NSHRF 2017/18 Annual Report.