The decision of whether to breastfeed or use formula is one of the first choices that new mothers face. Formula feeding can be a practical solution for some families. However, there is a growing concern about the health consequences of feeding baby formula. In this article, we will explore the compelling reasons why mothers should consider breastfeeding their infants instead of relying on baby formulas.
The most important reason why you should breastfeed your infant is nutritional superiority. Breast milk contains all the nutrients a baby needs to grow and develop, including water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. It also contains antibodies that help fight off infections.
Furthermore, breastmilk changes as the baby grows so it can provide exactly what they need at each stage of their development. It does not contain any additional content like sugar or harmful chemicals present in baby formula.
Here are some key components of breast milk that contribute to its nutritional value:
- Macronutrients: Breast milk contains an ideal balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The composition of these macronutrients changes over time to accommodate the changing nutritional needs of the baby.
- Vitamins and minerals: Breast milk provides essential vitamins and minerals in a form that is easily absorbed by the baby. It includes nutrients like vitamin D, which is important for bone health, and iron, which is crucial for brain development.
- Hormones and growth factors: Breast milk contains hormones and growth factors that support the baby’s growth and development. For example, it includes hormones that regulate the baby’s metabolism and help in the development of the digestive system.
Moreover, breastfeeding is also helpful for mothers. A study from the ScienceDirect Journal shows that it can protect the mother against chronic diseases. Some of these chronic diseases include breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Health Benefits for Infants
Breast milk contains antibodies that help protect infants from infections. Breastfed babies are less likely to get sick as they grow up, and they’re also less likely to develop allergies or asthma. Hence, even the US government advises mothers to breastfeed their infants until a certain age.
Here are some aspects that make baby formulas not so good for your child’s health.
- The formula isn’t as easy to digest as breast milk because it doesn’t contain the right amount of nutrients for infants’ tiny bodies. This can cause constipation or diarrhea. In the US, children younger than 4 years generally have diarrhea once or twice each year.
- Babies who drink formula sometimes need extra vitamins for their bodies to absorb all the nutrients from their food.
While breast milk is highly nutritious and provides numerous health benefits, it’s important to note that individual circumstances may vary. There are situations where breastfeeding may not be possible or practical. In such cases, formula feeding can be a suitable alternative.
However, you need to read the ingredient label thoroughly to find the right baby formula. That’s because some baby formulas are linked with Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC). NEC affects the intestinal tract of infants. If the condition is not treated promptly, it can even lead to death.
Many popular manufacturers, including Similac and Enfamil, have been sued by parents whose children suffered NEC due to baby formula consumption. You can also file an Enfamil or a Similac lawsuit if your child has developed NEC after consuming any of these baby formulas.
According to TorHoerman Law, the plaintiffs of these lawsuits allege that manufacturers knew about these potential health problems. However, they didn’t warn the consumers for their own profit. Hence, the plaintiffs seek financial compensation for the problems they faced and their financial losses, such as medical expenses.
Ultimately, breastfeeding is certainly a better option for your infant’s health. However, you might have to go with baby formulas in some situations. If such a situation arises, select a baby formula that fulfills your child’s nourishment needs.
Emotional and Developmental Advantages
The emotional and developmental benefits of breastfeeding are well-known. Studies have shown that infants who are breastfed have improved cognitive development and emotional regulation compared to those who are bottle-fed.
Moreover, the cognitive impact persisted even in adulthood. This has been proven in a study published in the BMC Journal. The study concluded that even at 30 the IQ scores were 3.76 points higher for those breastfed for at least a year.
Breastfeeding has also been linked to a lower risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and asthma in children later in life. Although sudden death syndrome is rare, many infants die at birth itself. There were 38.4 infant deaths per 100,000 live births in 2020.
Addressing Concerns and Challenges
You may be concerned about the following:
- Your baby is not getting enough nutrition. This is a common worry, but it’s unfounded. Babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life grow just as quickly and healthily as formula-fed ones. Breast milk contains all the nutrients a newborn needs to thrive.
- You don’t have enough milk in your breasts to satisfy your infant’s hunger pangs. Some mothers find that their supply drops off after they return to work or school, especially if they’re not breastfeeding as often. If this happens, try pumping more frequently during breaks at work or school so you can store up extra breast milk.
To overcome the second challenge, the Biden administration has expanded the 2010 Break Time For Nursing Mothers Act. The PUMP Act has been introduced to the Break Time For Nursing Mothers Act on December 29, 2022. This updated act covers new points for workplace protection for nursing mothers. The update included a reasonable break time for nurses and a separate place to pump milk. It covers nearly 9 million breastfeeding employees in the US.
While formula feeding is a viable option for many families, the benefits of breastfeeding extend beyond simple nourishment. The unique composition of breast milk, combined with the emotional and health advantages, makes breastfeeding a compelling choice for mothers.
It is a gift that lasts a lifetime, providing optimal nutrition and a foundation for a strong and loving relationship between mother and child. Ultimately, the decision to breastfeed is a personal one. However, understanding the numerous advantages can empower mothers to make an informed choice.