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Your Milk is Best for Your Baby! Learn Why!

Even though many Americans have the mistaken idea that today's infant formulas are nearly identical to human milk and that they are "almost as good as breast milk", that is not true at all. Compared to infant formula, breastmilk is so much better that there simply is no comparison! Evolution has done an unbelievable job of ordaining our bodies to produce this amazing substance that makes babies thrive. As your doulas and lactation counselors, we are committed to helping you breastfeed successfully. And if we can't help you, we will find someone who can.

Formula-fed babies are sicker, sick more often, and are more likely to die in infancy or childhood. Compared to exclusive/extended breastfed babies, formula-fed babies have a doubled overall infant death risk, and 4-fold risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). According a study that analyzed hospitalization patterns for a homogeneous, middle-class, white American population, bottle-fed infants were 14 times more likely to be hospitalized than breast-fed infants. A careful study of statistics shows that 9,000 lives could be saved yearly in the USA by exclusive/extended breastfeeding!

In reality we should think breast milk as THE NORM and understand that infant formula is an inferior artificial baby feed. Formula is static, is often not tolerated well, and does not contain live white cells and antibodies to fight diseases like breast milk does. In contrast breast milk is species-specific for humans and changes according to the infant's needs! For example, if the baby is born pre-term, breasts produce milk that has a different composition, especially suited for a premature infant. Also, the newborn's first milk, colostrum, is in many ways different from the mature milk. Man simply CANNOT duplicate this wonder!

Protein in breast milk is mostly whey, which is easier to digest than casein (main protein in cow's milk). Protein of breast milk has high amounts of amino acid taurine, which has an important role in the development of the brain and the eyes.

Fats in breast milk are practically self-digesting, since breast milk also contains the enzyme lipase, which breaks down the fat. Fat is the main source of calories for babies - and babies need LOTS of calories to grow well! Also, fat in human milk has large amounts of certain omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain development (provided the mother eats those good omega-3 fats herself). Longer intervals between feedings bring down the fat content of the milk stored in the breast - which is not good - so you are better off nursing as often as your child wants to.

Vitamins and minerals in human milk are bioavailable-meaning they get absorbed well. Breast milk contains substances that enhance the absorption of minerals and vitamins.

Immune boosters. In each feeding mother delivers MILLIONS of LIVING white blood cells to her baby to help baby fight off all kinds of diseases. Also, when mother is exposed to a germ, she makes antibodies to that germ and gives these antibodies to her infant via her milk.

Even more amazing, if a baby contracts an illness that mom has not been exposed to previously, he will transfer this organism through his saliva to the breast, where antibodies are manufactured on site and then sent back to baby via the milk to help him cope. ... Mothers who wean their babies from the breast during the first and even second and third years of life often notice that their child becomes sick more than before, or for the first time. Read Examining the Evidence for Cue feeding of Breastfed Infants .

Hormones and enzymes. Breast milk has lots of digestive enzymes, and also many hormones. These all contribute to the baby's well being. Every year scientists find more valuable substances in breast milk. Science is only beginning to understand what all there is in human milk that helps baby's growth and development!

Formula-fed babies have lower IQ

The longer you breastfeed, the greater difference there can be in IQ levels compared to bottle-fed babies. You might say that you know someone who was breast fed and ended up less smart than someone else who was bottle-fed. Certainly that is true in individual cases, because there are many factors that affect individual's intelligence - not just breastfeeding. Genetic makeup and how the child is raised and the nutrition after breastfeeding/bottle feeding play a big role too. The duration of breastfeeding matters also; nursing for a few months might not make such a difference as nursing till the child self-weans. So breastfeeding alone won't guarantee that your child will be some kind of Einstein, but it does have its effect.

Infants breastfed for nine months grew up to be significantly more intelligent than infants breastfed for one month or less. Results from the study of more than 3,000 young men and women from Copenhagen, Denmark, strongly support the long suggested, but never proven, conclusion that the act of breastfeeding not only makes babies healthier, but smarter, too.

The new Danish study took into account 13 similar factors related to the mother's health, wealth and behavior when analyzing the difference between the scores of more-breastfed and less-breastfed young adults. The significant differences held up after they were factored in.

"We are really quite certain that what we are seeing here is the effect of the duration of breastfeeding on an individual's intelligence," said June Machover Reinisch of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, one of the authors of the study. "The evidence is growing that breastfeeding is among the most important lifelong benefits a mother can give to her child," she said.

"Breast Milk Found Good for Babies' Brains"

Breastmilk contains DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid, that is important for the brain. DHA levels are highest in babies who are breastfed the longest. Breast milk has cholesterol, which is needed to make nerve tissue in the growing brain. (Contrary to common belief, human body needs and makes cholesterol.)

Breast milk makes healthy babies

Breastfeeding prevents obesity. Formula-fed babies are more likely to be obese during adolescence. Longer periods of breastfeeding greatly reduce the risk of being overweight in adulthood.

Healthy teeth. Formula-fed babies have worse jaw alignment and are more likely to need orthodontic work as they get older. This is probably because the sucking action during breastfeeding improves the development of facial muscles and the shape of the palate.

Healthy eyes and ears. Bottle fed babies have worse vision, and note: they get more ear infections.

General health. Bottle-fed infants and children have more and more severe upper respiratory infections, wheezing, pneumonia and influenza. They have more diarrhea, more gastrointestinal infections and constipation.

Health later in life. Formula-fed babies have a raised risk of heart disease, juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, asthma and allergy. Breastfeeding may also play a role in preventing digestive diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, as well as childhood cancers. If you give your infant the unique food designed for it by our creators, his or her body will function in a healthier way in all aspects.

To learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, I would recommend the following links:

Breastfeeding Myths
  • Won't be enough milk
  • Breastfeeding will hurt
  • Not enough/no milk during the first few days
  • BF babies need extra vitamin D and iron
  • Mom should wash her nipples before feeding
  • It is easier to bottlefeed than to breastfeed
  • Breastfeeding ties the mother down
  • Formula is almost the same as breastmilk
  • If Mom has an infection, she shouldn't breastfeed

  • We have a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful... it's that women are strong.
    - Laura Stavoe Harm

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