There's good news for lawyers defending juvenile delinquents today; a study has concluded that breast-fed babies go on to develop fewer behavioural problems than their bottle-fed counterparts.
Only 6% of children who were breastfed showed signs of behaviour problems, compared with 16% of children who were formula-fed.
Ah, you may say, but what about other factors? It is, after all, well established that the mother's age, education and - whisper it softly - social class all play a part in the decision to breast-feed. The scientists, it seems, have already thought of that:
But even after the researchers, from the Universities of Oxford, Essex, York and University College London, adjusted their figures to take that into account, they still found there was a 30% greater risk of behavioural problems among formula-fed children.
Now I can't imagine that levelling such a playing fields is an exact science but they seem happy with their conclusion, though it presents some difficulty to those trying to report it without seeming to condemn mothers who bottle-feed - a dilemma summed up by the Royal College of Midwives:
"We must not send a negative message to mothers that they have failed, or make then feel guilty because they bottle-fed their babies."
Good luck with that one! I expect Mumsnet is buzzing with self-justification and righteous indignation, though I have no intention of trying to find out. Meanwhile I suggest there should be some sort of prize for the first defence barrister to stand up in court and plead the extenuating circumstances of his client being bottle-fed from birth.
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