According to a new study recently published in Journal of Pediatrics, infants fed directly from the breast are less likely to develop ear infections than those fed pumped breast milk.
The study showed that feeding an infant at the breast for six months was associated with a 17% lower risk of ear infection. In comparison, babies fed with pumped breast milk for six months had an 115% increase in risk of ear infections.
While it is still unclear why the risk of infection is increased by feeding pumped milk, the senior study author Sarah Keim suggests that it may be because bottles create negative pressure during feeding. The negative pressure can transfer to the middle ear, which may contribute to the development of ear infections.
Children fed breast milk either directly or by bottle were shown to have an equal 30% less chance of suffering with diarrhoea, as compared with formula-fed babies.