Babies who are bottle fed are more likely to develop a type of stomach obstruction called hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (HPS), which is characterized by severe, frequent bouts of projectile vomiting, Medical News Today reported.
In a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers analyzed data from 714 infants born in Washington state between 2003 and 2009 who had developed HPS and undergone corrective surgery. These infants were then compared to a “control” group of babies who had not developed HPS.
Overall, bottle fed babies had a nearly 20 percent chance of developing HPS, compared to breastfed babies who demonstrated only a 9 percent chance of developing this type of stomach obstruction. The study also concluded that overall rates of HPS decreased from 14 in 10,000 births in 2003 to 9 in 10,000 births in 2009. Researchers noted that the popularity of breastfeeding increased among mothers during this time.
The researchers also admitted that their data is purely observational, based on self-reported information from mothers upon discharge from the hospital. Many of the women studied could have switched from breastfeeding to bottle feeding – or vice versa – shortly after the data was recorded.
"Further studies are warranted to validate these findings and to look more closely at the speculative mechanisms, including possible hormonal effects, underlying the bottle feeding-HPS association,” said study author Dr. Jarod P. McAteer, from Seattle Children's Hospital.