There’s new research for moms to consider when deciding how to feed infants.

A Manitoba-based study published Wednesday found the bacteria in breast milk changes depending on whether the infant is fed directly from breast or from a bottle after breast milk is pumped.

Noting that the idea of breast milk having a microbiome of bacteria is relatively new, researchers said there has been debate over the source of the bacteria – the mother’s gut or the baby’s mouth.

The study found indirect breastfeeding, like pumping milk to bottle feed, was associated with lower levels of a beneficial bacteria.

“We suspect that pumping may prevent the transfer of oral bacteria from the infant to the mother and might introduce other bacteria from the pump. Therefore, contrary or in addition to the hypothesis that milk bacteria come from the mother’s gut, our results suggest that the infant’s oral bacteria are important in shaping the milk microbiota,” said Dr. Meghan Azad with the University of Manitoba, who led the study, in a news release from the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba.

The study also linked feeding directly from breast with “higher overall bacterial richness and diversity.”

Previous research had found direct breastfeeding was more beneficial than feeding with pumped milk when it comes to protecting infants from asthma and obesity.

“We hope the results will inspire new research about breastfeeding and human milk, especially related to pumping,” said Azad.

The research was part of the larger CHILD Cohort Study and used data from nearly 400 participating moms and infants.