I hear a lot of generalizations. A lot of blanket statements. A lot of information that, while likely founded in some scientific study somewhere, should never be used as a scare tactic.
So, just for fun, I’d like to reveal that…
My child with the highest IQ is the one who was exclusively formula fed.
Would his IQ be a few points higher had I exclusively breastfed him? Well, we’ll never know, will we? I’m not too concerned about it. Given that he’s already been classified as “severely gifted” (<– a term I find hysterical), I don’t think those 2-5 points would make any striking difference.
There are oodles of good reasons to breastfeed your child– I am NOT disputing this. But don’t let anyone convince you that your formula-fed kid is going to be academically inferior. I just don’t believe it is so.
My exclusively breastfed child had the most ear infections.
Oh, the irony! My kids are not terribly ear infection-prone, anyway. We’ve been fortunate in that regard. I think we’ve faced a half dozen or less in eighteen combined years of life, so that’s not so bad, really. But half of those? Belonged to my youngest. And she’s the one I nursed exclusively.
Studies have shown that breastfed babies have lower rates of ear infections and perhaps she would have had even more had she been formula-fed. Again, we just don’t know. What I do know is that there are clearly multiple factors at play.
My child who had chronic lung disease (AKA broncho-pulmonary disease) manages to dodge more cold germs than the rest of us.
Very early preemies who’ve been on a ventilator frequently have “weak lungs.” They are often red-flagged as being particularly vulnerable to any upper respiratory problems and are followed closely any time they get colds.
My former micropreemie, who spent a month on a ventilator, rarely gets colds. Her immune system is strong and she stays healthy when the rest of us fall. When she does happen to catch a cold, she recovers every bit as quickly as any other child I know.
So. There you go. I’m not attempting to disprove any studies out there, nor am I promising that these scenarios would hold true for another family.
If there’s one thing I hope you might take away from this post, it is this:
Do not panic about such things. Do not let people convince you that you are dooming your child or guaranteeing her perfect health. The fact is, there are too many factors to reduce it to one common denominator.
Relax. Do your best. And maybe you’ll find yourself giggling alongside me as you realize how your child has managed to “break the rule.”