Breast Feeding Is Best
Breast feeding not only provides the perfect food and food delivery system for infants, it is also the most family friendly choice a new mother can make.
"Human breast milk contains at least one hundred ingredients not found in cow's milk and that cannot be exactly duplicated in commercial formulas" (Eisenburg 3). As a baby grows and changes, breast milk automatically individualizes itself for each infant. The nutrients in breast milk alter themselves to fit the baby's needs. Breast milk is more easily digested than cow's milk or formula. "The amount of protein in mother's milk (1.5%) is lower than in cow's milk (3.5%) (Brockport 1), making it gentler on the infant's stomach. Soy milk formulas are even further in composition from what nature intended. Brockport also points out that "an infant that has been breast fed is less likely to become overweight and it lowers the chance of obesity later in life" (2).
Virtually no baby is allergic to breast milk, while "beta-lactoglobulin, a
substance contained in cow's milk can trigger an allergic reaction which can be life threatening" (Denmark 1). Some suspect this to be the cause of certain cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Denmark states that "for every eighty-seven artificially fed babies who die from SIDS, only three breast fed babies die from SIDS" (1).
Nursed babies are almost never constipated because of the easier digestibility of breast milk. Breast fed babies are less likely to suffer from colic, gas, and excessive spitting up. They also rarely have diarrhea-since breast milk seems to destroy some diarrhea causing organisms and to encourage the growth of beneficial flora in the digestive tract, which further discourages digestive upset. Large amounts of sodium are difficult for a baby's kidneys to handle. Breast milk contains one-third the mineral salts of cow's milk, thus making it gentle to the kidneys. There is less phosphorous in breast milk as well. The higher phosphorus content of cow's milk is linked to a decreased calcium level in the formula fed infant's blood.
Breast fed babies are far less likely to become ill during the first year than formula fed babies. " The transfer of immune factors in breast milk and in the pre-milk substance, colostrum, provides partial protection. Every time breast fed infants suckle at their mother's breast from the first time to the last; they are getting a healthy dose of anti-bodies to bolster their immunity to disease" (Eisenburg 54). One recent study suggest " there may also be a decreased risk of childhood cancer in breast fed babies" (Eisenburg 55 ).
Breast fed babies are well-nourished since breast feeding works by supply and demand. The more the baby nurses the greater the mother's milk production. Overall, babies that are breast fed have less health problems than babies that are artificially fed. "They have three times fewer ear infections, five times...