Bottle Feeders Now Blamed for Causing Autism

bottle feeding autsimSometimes I wonder if there's someone making tons of money off of the mommy wars. Whoever that mystery corporation is, they must be funding breastfeeding and autism studies simply to rile up exhausted moms and make us fight. The latest researcher to step into the ring is Gordon Gallup, who claims that bottle-feeding may be responsible for autism.

Except he didn't actually do a study. Instead he interpreted another study, which has nothing to do with breast- or bottle-feeding. The study Gallup cites was in Pediatrics, which showed second babies conceived within a year or less of the first child were three times more likely to have autism than children with more spacing between their births. So Gallup decided he would throw it out there that these older babies were obviously bottle-fed (obviously?), and if you bottle-feed your firstborn, your second child will have autism.

Leap much, Mr. Gallup?

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Three reasons this guy is totally barking up the wrong tree: 1) The original author of the study points out that breastfeeding rates were actually on the rise during the time of this study; 2) Gallup ignores the issue that a mother's body might not be fully recovered from her first birth, therefore depriving her next child of needed nutrients; 3) the same author of the first study reminds Mr. Gallup that it is a correlation between closely spaced births and autism, not a cause. Meaning, having children further apart will not prevent autism.

And neither will exclusively breastfeeding. If that were the case, we'd be seeing much different numbers being diagnosed. Plus, how many nursing moms do you know that got pregnant while breastfeeding? I can think of three ladies in my circle of friends right off the top of my head. Also, every single lactivist would be repeating that information, printing it on a t-shirt, and starting a petition to make breastfeeding mandatory by law.

We do need a heck of a lot more research on the inner workings of autism, but not just wacky theories, not backed up by research, that could get repeated as fact until we have a whole other Wakefield on our hands.

What do you think about this guy's assertions?


Image via Fimb/Flickr

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