Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity


Numerous studies have shown that children who are breastfed are less likely to become obese than formula-fed babies. Scientists do not know exactly why breastfeeding reduces the risk of obesity, but several possibilities have been suggested. Some people think that a breastfed child can better control how much he or she eats and so may become accustomed to eating less than a bottle-fed child. Breastfed babies are more likely later in life to try new foods, including vegetables; one reason might be that breast milk is more variable in taste. Women who breastfeed are also more likely to lose the weight they gained in pregnancy. Also, babies who are breastfed have lower levels of insulin, a hormone that promotes fat storage.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is clear in its recommendation of breastfeeding for the first year of life. Stay tuned for further thinking and research on how to better support this choice.