The choice to breastfeed or formula feed is a big decision for expectant and new parents. Various health organizations such as the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Medical Association (AMA) endorse breastfeeding as the best choice for babies. But why is breast milk better than formula?
Breast Milk VS. Baby Formula: Why Mother’s Milk is the Best Choice
Here are some basic differences that breastfeeding offers over formula-feeding.
|Contains anti-infectious and anti-inflammatory agents, growth factors, and prebiotics.||Infant formulas do not contain such anti-infective properties.|
|Human milk composition has a perfect balance of nutrients and is dynamic, varying during a feed and changes in composition as the baby grows.||Infant formula is not efficiently utilized as breast milk. It is not dynamic and is standardized within a very narrow range of composition.|
|Being natural, breast milk is easily digested and absorbed.||Artificially prepared infant formula might be difficult for some babies to digest and they may have difficulty tolerating certain nutrients.|
|The amount of milk consumed is determined by the infant.||A pediatrician or nutritionist determines the formula requirement for the infant.|
|Creates a strong emotional bond between the mother and child.||Formula-feeding doesn’t build that strong a bond.|
|Breast milk is always at the right temperature.||Infant formula may need to be warmed and needs to be checked if it’s at the correct temperature.|
Breastfeeding your baby exclusively is recommended for the first 26 weeks (six months) after birth.
Additional Advantages of Breastfeeding
- Decreases chances of diarrhea and vomiting.
- Prevents constipation.
- Lowers the chances of chest and ear infections.
- Makes babies less likely to become obese and develop type 2 diabetes later.
- Prevents the development of eczema.
Why Breastfeeding Is Good For You
Breastfeeding is good for the baby as well as the mother. Here’s why:
- It decreases your risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
- Breastfeeding utilizes up to 500 calories daily, which balances the extra calories you have in the day and might also help you lose the post-baby weight.
- It is cost effective. Infant formula involves purchase cost, sterilization and feeding equipment.
- Breastfeeding can delay the return of your period.
When You Should Not Breastfeed Your Baby
There could be clinical reasons for which breastfeeding may not be advisable. For example, if you have been on certain medications that could harm the baby or if you have been suffering from a disease that can be transferred through breast milk such as HIV. If you’re suffering from a health condition and are uncertain whether you should feed the baby, consult a gynecologist for appropriate guidance.
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