Is your baby cranky because you breastfeed?

A new study claims that breastfed babies are crankier than their formula-fed peers. Is the study an agenda-led bunch of hogwash, or is there a ring of truth to it? You decide.


The UK-based Medical Research Council conducted a study of over 300 babies and their mothers and, based on the mom’s answers on a questionnaire,

has deducted that breastfed babies are found to be crankier than those babies who were formula-fed or fed a combination of formula and breast milk. This study has moms crying foul, and not just those who breastfeed their babies.

The study

The 300 mothers were asked to comment on their baby’s mood and crying activity and how they were fed. The study found that breastfed babies were noted to be more challenging and cried more. The Medical Research Council hoped that the study results would encourage new mothers to not give up breastfeeding when their little ones were fussier than expected. They also insisted that they still believe breast is best.

Right on, but…

Carrie, mom of two, found that the study did reflect her personal experience, but she had a different explanation for the fussiness.

“My first was formula fed and my second was breastfed,” she reported. “My second was much crankier and did have colic, and both cried a lot, but I think it is all their personalities and not how they were fed.”

Flawed research?

Asking a mother to comment on her own baby’s behavior is not exactly a great way to conduct scientific research, Lindsay from Texas said.

“I think this study is bogus,” she shared. “There are lots of reasons a breastfed baby could be crying, besides communication and being hungry. Are they reflux babies? Perhaps they are allergic to foods, and their mom hasn’t eliminated anything from her diet.”


Heather, mother of two, agrees. “What one mother considers ‘cranky,’ another might not,” she shared. “And I think that a lot of it boils down to a breastfed baby is hungry in two hours and a formula fed baby in four, so of course they’re crankier.

Also, what quiets a child isn’t always what’s best for a child — every parent should know that.”

Other factors

There are other factors at play in the breastfeeding relationship, Kelly from California noted. “Could it be that breastfed babies seemed to cry more or be more fussy because the breastfeeding mommy was the only person able to provide the breast and comfort?” she asked.

Crystal, experienced mother of six, thought the study was nonsense as well.

“It’s the teething, not the delightful marriage of perfect, warm milk and hugs he gets while nursing.”

While the study’s method of research seems questionable, they chose to put the information out there to the public in hopes of encouraging first-time mothers to keep up breastfeeding. However, to many of the moms we polled, it seemed to have an anti-breastfeeding spin to it.


More on breastfeeding

The breastfeeding diet for nursing moms
5 breastfeeding tips for new moms
Why you should breastfeed your toddler


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