I'm glad this was brought up here. I was trying to figure out how to bring it up here myself because I was sure mothers were seeing the breathless and misleading headlines about the study.
I see two issues. one that such a small study with so many problems was published in pediatrics. But okay.
Far worse is the way it was reported in the media. One headline said 'good news for mothers.' Why would the effects of very limited supplementation be good or bad news for mothers? The assumption is that breast-feeding is some horrendous ordeal, and any chance to feed your baby another way take it! This of course plays right into the agenda of the formula companies, who for years have been promoting the idea that breast-feeding is 'best' but extremely difficult and that mothers who nurse are really kind of martyrs.
The babies in the supplemented group were given teeny tiny feedings via syringe of a hypoallergenic formula. No one has ever said that this type of appropriate (if needed ) supplementation is harmful to breast-feeding duration! In fact many lactation consultants have noted that supplementation when done appropriately is helpful. What is harmful is inappropriate over supplementation. We have far too much inappropriate over supplementation happening in hospitals. And of course by mothers who see bottles of 2-4 ounces given to teeny tiny new born babies and think that is a normal feeding, and you don't trust their bodies to make enough milk.
I suspect that seeing how small the supplements were gave the mothers of the supplemented infants a visual of how tiny a normal feed actually is for a brand-new born. That alone may have given them more confidence in breast-feeding.
I wonder if a study that showed that giving babies this size and appropriate supplements of donated breast milk would have been trumpeted from the mountaintop the way this one was. Somehow I doubt it.
You're not paranoid if they are really out to get you. Right?