Although it may seem like a simple choice whether to breastfeed or formula feed your child, it is a decision that should be taken very seriously. The way you feed your infant makes an important difference in all areas of your child’s health and well being.
Even though breast milk and formula (artificial breast milk) look the same in a bottle they are very different.
Formula is made in a factory. It contains only some of the basic vitamins, minerals and proteins found in human milk. It does not contain hundreds of the important components of breast milk that ensure the health and proper growth of your baby.
Breast milk is a live food. Our bodies produce breastmilk, the perfect nutritional food to meet the unique needs of our children. Our milk provides the nutrients needed for normal growth and development as well as antibodies to help the infant from getting sick.
Think about the difference it would be in your own diet if you drank a canned nutrition drink for every meal instead of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and meats. Even though that drink might have some of the nutrients that we know are important, it would not have the full complement of nutrients that real, live food has. That is what drinking formula is like. It is an adequate second best for a child who cannot breastfeed, however, it is not the best food for an infant.
Many health organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. This means usually the child does not need any other food or drink, including water for the first six months of life.
The benefits to our children of breast milk are so many we won’t be able to list them all here, and we continue to find out new ones. Children who breastfeed are less likely to have ear infections, diarrhea, and colds and flus as well as chronic conditions such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Breastfeeding is also important in the proper development of teeth and speech. Children who are breastfed have a lower infant mortality rate and are less likely to die from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Recent studies have also shown better IQ’s in children who were breastfed.
A mother who breastfeeds is less likely to have breast cancer or Type 2 diabetes. Mothers also return to their prepregnancy weight sooner and have less depression when they breastfeed.
Most mothers who breastfeed talk about the ‘bonding’ they feel with their child when they breastfeed. This is important in all families. It has an additional importance when mom is working and separated from the baby for long periods of time. Breastfeeding can be an excellent way of reconnecting and relaxing together after a stressful day. Breastfeeding ensures that the mother and baby take time for each other.
Breastfeeding is also good for the community. A healthier baby means that mom does not miss work because of a sick baby. Breastfeeding is also better for the environment, as it uses none of the paper, plastic, tin or energy required for preparing, packaging and transporting artificial baby milk.
There are lots of good reasons to breastfeed. Many people today were not breastfed as children and really don’t know how to support someone breastfeeding. Although in the beginning it may be a bit awkward, like learning to dance, it becomes easy and natural with a little practice. This website was created to help you successfully breastfeed by providing you with information and resources. We hope that one day soon, breastfeeding is the norm, and everyone knows how to breastfeed because they have been seeing women do it their whole life.
Please join us in ‘Bringing Back the Tradition’ of breastfeeding