Feeding a baby with both breast and bottled milk increases the risk of obesity compared with exclusively breastfeeding, research suggests.
A new study from the World Health Organisation (WHO) found babies who are never or only partially breastfed have an increased risk of obesity as children.
The study was led by a team from the National Institute of Health in Lisbon and presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow.
Overall, experts analysed data from 22 countries and included more than 100,000 six to nine-year-olds.
The research found that, compared with children who were breastfed for six months, kids who were never breastfed were 22 per cent more likely to be obese.
Meanwhile, those who were breastfed for less than six months were 12 per cent more likely to be obese.
Data from eight countries showed a similar protective effect against obesity from exclusive breastfeeding as opposed to mixed feeding.
WHO has a 2025 target to globally increase exclusive breastfeeding rates to 50 per cent in the first six months of life.
Kate Brintworth, head of maternity transformation at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said: "This work contributes to the already strong evidence base about the many benefits of breastfeeding for mother and her baby and reinforces the need to increase the resources that are put into supporting women to begin and maintain breastfeeding for at least the first six months of the baby's life."
Australian Associated Press