Do you know that formula is not equal substitute for breast milk? Babies are meant to drink breast milk. It is how God created us, to survive solely off our mother as an infant. Breast milk has a few fantastic benefits that seem to get overlooked sometimes:
- Antibodies, provides an immune system that will stick with your baby for life. It is like the perfect vaccine.
- Nutritionally exactly what your baby requires. It is unique from person to person created specifically for your baby.
- Protective against respiratory problems in the infant
- Equivalent to running 60 minutes/day for the mother. It shrinks back down the uterus and puts the mother back into pre-pregnancy condition. Do you know anyone who left the hospital and went for a 60 minute run directly after birth? No. It is God's way of providing those exercise benefits without requiring such stress on the woman's body.
- Women who breast feed have lower rates of certain breast and ovarian cancers.
- Mom/baby bonding
Most women are capable of breastfeeding. From what people tell me, it seems it can be difficult and take some time for the baby to really latch on, but it is worth a little struggle.
Now what makes me crazy and got me thinking about this is when a client informed me that she felt very uncomfortable breastfeeding anywhere but her home. She said that people look at her funny and her job did not have a room for her to pump besides the bathroom. If a baby is meant to eat from a breast, then why in world do we find it odd or even offensive when a women goes to feed her baby? Why does a women have to do it in secret like no one knows a baby breastfeeds? I know why but I think it is stupid. We have sexualized the breast so much that we have taken it away from its actual function and purpose. When we were in India, one of the teachers was still breastfeeding her son and it was no problem for her to breastfeed him anywhere we went. She was not flashing everyone around, she had her saree to cover herself, but it was normal and natural and EXPECTED for her to feed her baby! If you are planning to be a mom or currently pregnant, please learn to breastfeed. The rest of you, start expecting American women to feed their infants in the best way possible: breasfeeding. Encourage someone you know to breastfeed!
Disclaimer: I want to recognize that some women (a very small minority) are unable to breastfeed either due to their baby having a genetic disorder, the mother carrying HIV, taking medications necessary but that pass into the breast milk, or an infection resulting in the removal of the duct. For these women, breastfeeding causes more damage than good and that is when formula is appropriate and necessary.
Nutrition from the dietitian
Blog of Abrea Nutrition.