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Feeding Formula To Babies Versus Breastfeeding

1145 words - 5 pages

There are many misconceptions today about feeding formula to babies and it being equal to breastfeeding. Breast milk is complex and species-specific; it targets growth and development of infants and provides disease protection. Both breast milk and formulas contain similar nutrients, but formulas are not an exact copy of breast milk. Formula may maintain growth and development, but it doesn’t contain hormones, live cells, immunologic agents, or enzymes, all of which are contained in breast milk. Breast milk contains four-hundred nutrients that cannot be recreated in a laboratory. Formula compositions don’t change to meet the infant’s changing needs. Although many formulas are similar to breast milk, they have drastic differences in quality and quantity of nutrients. Breastfeeding is not only the choice of a certain way of life; it is a medical issue for mother and baby.
Breastfeeding mothers can rest at ease knowing that children aren’t the only ones who benefit from breastfeeding. “Nursing mothers enjoy a reduced risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and osteoporosis.”(Coburn Issue 95) Authors of What to Expect From your Toddler and researchers at Healthwise both agree that breastfeeding helps the mother to have a quicker recovery from the stresses of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. For some mothers the fact that breastfeeding will help them to shed leftover pregnancy pounds, by burning at least five hundred extra calories a day, is reason enough not to formula feed yet, the reassuring thought of the everyday conveniences of breastfeeding is by far just as great of a thrill. Breast milk is always in stock, ready to use, clean, and consistently the perfect temperature. Most mothers are also relaxed by knowing that breastfeeding helps protect them against another pregnancy while they are breastfeeding. “Ovulation and menstruation are supressed in most lactating women at least until their babies begin to take significant supplementation, often until weaning, and sometimes several months afterwards.”(5) According to Mothering magazine breastfeeding also reduces the risk of post-menopausal hip fractures, reduces postpartum bleeding and iron deficiency anemia, and delays ovulation as a means of child spacing. It also ensures that the mother takes frequent breaks in her day, especially at first. Most importantly, it helps create a bond between mother and baby. The distance between the baby and mother, when the baby is feeding, is the perfect distance for the newborn’s eyes to focus. There is a skin-to-skin and eye-to-eye contact, and the oppurtunity to cuddle and bond.
In December 1997 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued its most aggressive statement to due urging mothers to breastfeed for at least a year and beyond “for as long as mutually desired.” Mother’s milk alone provides all the nutrients necessary for a baby’s physical and mental development for at least at least six months, with the added benefit of natural immunity...

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