Breast Milk vs. Formula Milk. Why is the first a better choice for infant and mother’s health.

Mother’s breast milk is the most healthy food for newborn baby

Breast milk is like water to a seedling. 1 It nourishes an infant with all the necessary nutrients. During pregnancy, the breasts develop to become a milk-producing plant in readiness for childbirth.2 Breast milk contains all essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and mineral salts.

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first at least 6 months of age and can be prolonged with complementary feeding. In the first 6 months, the infant is solely dependent on the mother for nourishment and protection. This protection is provided by antibodies passed on breast milk. Antibodies are chemical soldiers of the body that fight infections. When passed on to the baby, the baby develops a defence system and has a low incidence of developing severe infections and allergies.

As earlier mentioned, breast milk is very rich in nutrients. As a result, it also contributes highly to the development of the brain of the infant.1 Studies have shown that infants who are exclusively breastfed in the first 6 months of life have a better cognitive function. It is also of importance to note that babies who are breastfed develop a great bond with their mothers. The breastfeeding position allows the baby to look at the mother’s face and this creates a playful bond. Isn’t that what all mothers want?

Breast milk is the recommended nourishment but breastfeeding is not always possible. 3 Infant formula is an alternative that has gained popularity over time. Infant formula tries to mimic breast milk in composition. Sometimes infant milk is used in managing infants who have a problem in the digestive system.

Infant formula is available in the market mainly in powdered form which has to be dissolved before giving to the infant. 4 This manipulation process gives way to errors in dilution which may affect the quantity of nutrients getting to the infant. Furthermore, it also provides a leeway for the introduction of bacteria and this may lead to infections. High standards of hygiene, therefore, have to be maintained when handling infant formula.

In addition to having a very rich pool of nutrients, breastfeeding has also proven to confer protection against diabetes.5 Diabetes is a disease that results from an imbalance in the levels of blood sugar. Evidence has shown babies who are breastfed have a lower incidence of developing diabetes and other diseases that affect the heart later on in life6.

Did you know breastfeeding is also beneficial to the mothers? 8 A mother who breastfeeds can snap back to their pre-pregnancy shape in a shorter time. This is associated with hormones that are released during breastfeeding that help the body regain its former self. These hormones also play a role in protecting the mother from heart diseases and developing diabetes.

Breastfeeding has an inexhaustible list of benefits to both the baby and mother. As the world commemorates world breastfeeding week, keep your baby breastfed.

  1. Comité de nutrition de la Société française de pédiatrie, Turck D, Vidailhet M, Bocquet A, Bresson JL, Briend A, Chouraqui JP, Darmaun D, Dupont C, Frelut ML, Girardet JP, Goulet O, Hankard R, Rieu D, Simeoni U. Allaitement maternel: les bénéfices pour la santé de l’enfant et de sa mère [Breastfeeding: health benefits for child and mother]. Arch Pediatr. n.2, p. 72251-6, Nov 2013.
  2. JENNESS R. The Composition Of Human Milk. Semin Perinatol. n.3, p. 225-39, Jul 1979.
  3. MARTIN CR, LING PR, BLACKBURN GL. Review of Infant Feeding: Key Features of Breast Milk and Infant Formula. Nutrients. n.1, p. 279 May 2016.
  4. GREEN CORKINS K, SHURLEY T. What’s in the Bottle? A Review of Infant Formulas. Nutr Clin Pract. n.6, p. 723-729, Dec 2016.
  5. GOUVERI E, PAPANAS N, HATZITOLIOS AI, MALTEZOS E. Breastfeeding and diabetes. Curr Diabetes Rev. n.2, p. 135-42, Mar 2011.
  6. PEREIRA PF, ALFENAS RDE C, ARAÚJO RM. Does Breastfeeding Influence The Risk Of Developing Diabetes Mellitus In Children? A review of current evidence. J Pediatr (Rio J). n.1, p.7-15, Jan-Feb 2014.
  7. LIU J, LEUNG P, YANG A. Breastfeeding and Active Bonding Protects Against Children’s Internalizing Behavior Problems. Nutrients. n.1, p. 76-89, Dec 2013.
  8. HEINIG MJ, DEWEY KG. Health Effects Of Breast Feeding For Mothers: A Critical Review. Nutr Res Rev. n.1, p. 35-56, Jan 1997.

Tags: , , ,

Categories: Allergy, Immunity, Pregnancy, Pre- and Postnatal Health

Connect with us on Facebook

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

%d bloggers like this: