Study compares stools of breastfed and formula-fed infants
When researchers compared the stools of 40 infants who were exclusively breastfed with those of 13 who were exclusively formula fed, the average daily stool frequency was significantly higher in the breastfed than formula fed infants during the first month of life (4.9 versus 2.3) and second month of life (3.2 versus 1.6).
The Acta Paediatrica study also found that the stools were more liquid in the breastfed infants during the first three months, and infrequent stools were 3.5 times more likely in the breastfed infants (28 percent) than formula fed infants (8 percent).
"The underlying mechanisms of the infrequent stools syndrome in exclusively breastfed infants are unknown," the authors wrote. "Many hypotheses have been put forward, from better digestion of the fat in mother's milk than formula milk to a greater number of saccharolytic bacteria that can degrade unabsorbed and unabsorbable sugars."