Medicine often seems to ignore issues of gender equality. It appears that male and female human bodies really are different and, as one might suspect, they have both unique challenges and unique strengths. So, forget the one-size-fits-all and "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" theory of medicine. Today it's the women who come out on top.
Research from Johns Hopkins University shows that pre-term females fare better when breast-fed than do their male counterparts. The researchers were especially interested in assessing the effect of breastfeeding on respiratory infections. Severely underweight newborns are particularly susceptible to respiratory infections, like bronchiolitis.
They studied 119 infants who weighed less than 3.3 pounds at birth. Those female babies who were breast-fed did far better than female babies who were bottle-fed. 50 percent of the bottle-fed girls required hospitalization after their first respiratory infection. But, only 7 percent of the breast-fed gals also required hospitalization after they experienced a respiratory infection.
What about the boys? Well, breast-feeding made no difference. 19 percent of the guys, both bottle and breast-fed, required hospitalization after they experienced a respiratory infection. Yes, it was their first lesson in the life-is-not-fair philosophy.
So, add another major advantage to breast-feeding babies - for the girls, that is.To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To learn more about breastfeeding, see this from BreastFeeding.com.