Infant Nutrition

Infant Nutrition

Upon the entrance of the world, newborns have specific nutritional needs that must be met. Most of these needs are able to be met through breastfeeding or formula feeding your infant. It is important for parents to know the difference between breast milk and formula when making this very important choice.

Which is better?
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association all agree that breastfeeding is the best option for babies. Breast milk provides antibodies that are impossible to duplicate in formula. Breast milk is often called “liquid gold” and “the perfect food” for its many healing properties and its nutritional make up. Some women are unable to breastfeed because of medical issues or other personal issues. If breastfeeding is not possible, formula can provide babies with vital nutrients necessary for baby’s survival making it an alternative to breastfeeding.

 

Breastfeeding Baby

Breast milk isn’t called the perfect food for no reason! There are many benefits that breastfeeding has over formula, especially for newborns and young babies.

  • Breast milk fights off infection. The antibodies passed through the breast milk help fight infections including: diarrhea, ear infections, meningitis, respiratory infections and many other illnesses.
  • Breastfeeding contributes to baby’s immune system by increasing barriers against infections and decreasing growth of bad bacteria and viruses.
  • Breastfeeding can protect baby against allergies, asthma, diabetes, obesity and sudden infant death syndrome, also known as SIDS.
  • Overall, breastfed babies get sick less and have fewer infections and hospitalizations than formula-fed babies.
  • As long as baby is with mom, breast milk is always available and convenient. It is not necessary to bring along warm water and powder, all baby needs is right there for him or her.
  • Breastfeeding is free, where formula can cost up to twenty dollars a week or more.
  • Breast milk has the perfect proportions of nutrients for infants. The ratios of protein, fat, carbohydrates and calcium are exactly what your baby needs.
  • Breast milk is much easier for babies to digest than formula.
  • Breast milk contains fatty acids that are necessary for the development of baby’s brain.
  • Breastfeeding helps new mothers get back to their pre-birth size more quickly.

Along with all of this, there are likely many other components of breast milk that will benefit baby that are either unlisted or that we are not yet aware of. This is a major factor of why breastfeeding is the optimal choice when possible because these unknown components cannot be even possibly added to formula until they are discovered.

 

Formula Feeding Baby

Although breastfeeding is the best choice for newborn nutrition, for some mothers it is not possible. Unless the mother is on a medication that is not compatible with breastfeeding, it is always best to at least try to breastfeed before going to formula. If you do choose to use formula, don’t stress out or feel guilty. A happy and calm, comfortable mother is the best mother for baby.

As new technology arises, infant formulas are becoming better at matching the ingredients of breast milk. Although it isn’t the same, it is an alternative that will help baby meet his or her nutritional needs during the first months of his or her life. The benefits of formula feeding include:

  • It may be more convenient for some mothers, as some one else is able to feed the baby and make the bottles.
  • Since formula is not as easy to digest, formula-fed babies do not need to be fed as often as breastfed babies do.
  • Formula feeding allows the mother to leave her baby with a caregiver without having to worry about pumping enough milk.
  • Formula feeding mothers do not have to monitor their diet, although eating a healthy diet will set a good example for your child whether you breastfeed or formula feed.

Image: © bilderstoeckchen / fotolia.com

 

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