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  • 7/31/2010

Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding (Part 1)

mother and baby

Choosing whether to breastfeed or formula feed your baby is one of the first decisions expectant parents will make. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) joins other organizations such as the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Dietetic Association (ADA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) in recommending breastfeeding as the best for babies. Breastfeeding helps defend against infections, prevent allergies, and protect against a number of chronic conditions.

The AAP says babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months. Beyond that, the AAP encourages breastfeeding until at least 12 months and longer if both the mother and baby are willing.

The decision to breastfeed or formula feed your baby is a very personal one. But here are some points you may want to consider as you decide which is best for you and your new addition.

Breastfeeding: The Advantages

Nursing can be a wonderful experience for both mother and baby. It provides ideal nourishment and a special bonding experience that many nursing mothers cherish.

Here are some of the many benefits of breastfeeding:

Infection-fighting. Antibodies passed from a nursing mother to her baby can help lower the occurrence of many conditions, including:

• ear infections

• diarrhea

• respiratory infections

• meningitis

Other factors help to protect a breastfed baby from infection by contributing to the infant’s immune system by increasing the barriers to infection and decreasing the growth of organisms like bacteria and viruses.

Breastfeeding is particularly beneficial for premature babies and also may protect children against:

• allergies

• asthma

• diabetes

• obesity

• sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

As a group, breastfed babies have fewer infections and hospitalizations than formula-fed infants.

Nutrition and ease of digestion. Often called the "perfect food" for a human baby’s digestive system, breast milk’s components — lactose, protein (whey and casein), and fat — are easily digested by a newborn's immature system.

babies
As a group, breastfed infants have less difficulty with digestion than do formula-fed infants. Breast milk tends to be more easily digested so that breastfed babies have fewer incidences of diarrhea or constipation.

Breast milk also naturally contains many of the vitamins and minerals that a newborn requires. A healthy mother does not need any additional vitamins or nutritional supplements, with the exception of vitamin D. Breast milk does contain some vitamin D, and vitamin D is produced by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. However, sun exposure increases the risk of skin damage, so parents are advised to minimize exposure. As a result, the AAP recommends that all breastfed babies begin receiving vitamin D supplements during the first 2 months and continuing until the infant consumes enough vitamin D-fortified formula or milk (after 1 year of age).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate formula companies to ensure that they provide all the known necessary nutrients (including vitamin D) in their formulas. Commercial formulas do a pretty good job of trying to duplicate the ingredients in breast milk — and are coming closer — but haven’t matched their exact combination and composition. Why? Because some of breast milk’s more complex substances are too difficult to manufacture and some have not yet been identified.

Source:kidshealth.org


Other links:

Staying Healthy During Pregnancy (Part 1)

Staying Healthy During Pregnancy (Part 2)

Staying Healthy During Pregnancy (Part 3)

Weight loss should not be hurried in new moms

Omega-3 improves baby brain power

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Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding (Part 3)

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Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding (Part 3)
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