The Benefits of Breast FeedingThe benefits of breast feeding are life-changing for both mother and child. Nothing else accomplishes the same things. Formula actually causes damage to the baby's gut, immune system, neurological development.
Science is regularly discovering more and more ways in which these things is true, and this page lists many of them.
This page goes into detail about the:
Formula provides almost none of this. The only thing in the list above that formula does provide at all is nutrition, which it does at a paltry, feeble, tragic level.
Asking what is the best formula is like going to McDonalds every day and trying to find the healthiest food there, when all their food is processed, old, full of chemicals, devitalized, and made of GMO ingredients.
Think of breastfeeding as going to the organic farmer's market or natural foods store every day to buy the freshest vegetables that are full of life giving nutrients, the cleanest meats and eggs from humanely raised animals (fed on their natural diet), high quality, fresh nuts and seeds, and seasonal fruits. All chemical free, teeming with vital nutrients, and supportive of the highest level of health, wellness, and growth.
Sure, you can survive going to McDonalds every day. Sort of. (See the movie.) But it comes at a steep steep price to your health, well being and mental function in the world.
What is the best baby formula? There is no contest. It's the formula developed and perfected by nature. It's Mama's own milk, with her skin close, and her warmth, and the baby finding her eyes and face.
Unfortunately, most doctors and government authorities are horribly informed on breastfeeding and natural birth by an education and lobbying system tied to the approval of industry. The opinions of such people change slowly, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Doctors sometimes even tell women they can't make enough milk and encourage them toward formula when the mother is completely capable, but simply not getting the right support.
Those result from pregnancy.
- Everyone sleeps better.
The act of nursing releases sleeping aids that help both mom and baby to fall back to sleep quickly and rest well.
- It's easy.
Breast milk is always ready to serve. Nobody completely waking up in dead of night to heat bottles while baby is fussing and keeping mom awake.
- A lower stress level for the
mother (at a time when she really needs it.).
- Helps Mom regain her figure and lose weight, especially with prolonged breastfeeding.
- Healthy, optimal development of entire immune system in baby. (The only way this happens.)
- Protection from diseases before
the baby's immune system develops enough to produce its own antibodies.
Ever seen those formula-fed babies who seem to take forever to kick a cold? If a breast-fed baby gets a cold, Mom automatically makes antibodies to the cold, which the baby then gets from the milk and whamo! Baby gets better fast.
- Nutritional benefits of breast feeding:
Breast milk is a living food, full of living things from Mom essential to starting Baby's growth in ways you cannot see.
The proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and other cofactors in breast milk are of the highest quality. You couldn't buy anything close to this.
All these unique things in breast milk are important for the baby to grow and develop correctly.
Breastfed babies move better and with better coordination, develop better thinking ability and higher IQ.
Beastfeeding leads the mother to become more attuned to the baby's emotional needs, and the act of nursing itself meets some of those needs profoundly.
- Digestive track
Breastfeeding establishes healthy, probiotic gut bacteria in babies. This is only posible because it is a live food. This culturation of the intestines is necessary for healthy function. There may be other benefits in this area. Research is being done.
- Less diarrhea, fewer
- Less risk in adulthood of Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Reduced risk of getting diabetes
- Better growth and strength for the
- Better eyesight.
- Fewer ear infections
- Proper development of the shape of the mouth
and shape of
the face for beauty and good teeth. Less need for braces (orthodontia).
- Better ability to digest food well now and later in life.
- Better, healthier teeth.
- Colonization of the intestines
with the life giving
pro-biotic bacteria that we all need. (This is weak or damaged in many
- Reduction or elimination of food and environmental
- Greater attachment of the child to
the mother and
hte mother to the child.
- May reduce post-partum depression
(Natural childbirth at home also has this effect.)
- Greater sense of personal strength and
ability for the child as it grows up. Less anxiety as well,
for the rest of the life.
- Breast milk is species-specific for humans and changes according to the infant's needs.
- NOT breastfeeding increases the risk of the mother' getting breast cancer.
- Formula feeding increases baby girls' risk of breast cancer later in life.
- Much, much less expensive.
If breast feeding seems challenging because of your job, consider pumping. Some pumping techniques are easier than others, and many women do this for a year or longer. Make sure you get competent coaching.
- It is mainly made up of sugar and oils
and a protein such as cow's milk, soy or whey, very complicated to
digest and foreign to baby's immature system. This is very poor
nutritionally for the baby, even if they add a mountain of vitamins to
- Higher incidence of allergies, possibly severe.
The earlier and more often an infant consumes a food other than breastmilk, the more likely that child will become allergic to it. This is because their digestive systems are not developed enough for food (like formula) other than mother's milk, and their immune system starts making antibodies to it, as though it were a disease.
About one out of ten babies are born allergic to regular formula, made from cow milk.
Giving just one bottle of formula to a baby, even home-made, organic formula, easily damages the baby's digestive system, laying a groundwork for future allergies and inflammatory diseases like asthma, eczema, even ADHD.
- Formula contains no antibodies, no digestive enzymes,
no immunoglobulin, all essential for baby.
- It leaves their immune systems flailing and open
to possible disease and infection.
At birth, a baby's immune system is immature, and it depends on antibodies and other immune factors that come from the mother's breast milk to fight disease.
At six months of age, the baby can begin to make some of these for itself, although not yet in a mature way.
of toxic chemicals, are found in formula at high enough
levels to cause
drops in sperm levels in lab rats and damage to the immune system.
These poisons, such as Phthalates, occur in plastics, vinyl flooring, paints, foil packaging, and other products, and have now worked their way into the environment in places like farm fields and river beds.
- Babies fed formula are 14 times more likely to be
hospitalized in their first year.
- Babies fed formula are more
prone to respiratory illnesses, ear infections and diarrhea.
The sugary content of formula may set up the child to have poor
instincts for eating in life. Breastfed babies are less likely to become obese.
- Babies fed formula instead of breast milk miss out on the
intense physical bond that allows them to develop a sense of trust in
the world and leads to better behavior growing up,
including in teenage years.
- Not breastfeeding deprives the mother of a major and profound bond between them that would last the lifetime and help both to live in the best dimension of their relationship.
She will often say "Anything else you can do for your baby's welfare pales in comparison with the benefits of breast feeding. Anything."
She helps patients with breastfeeding difficulties, and provides coaching and information so Moms have wise and well informed guidance.
When necessary, Dr. Ginsburg steers patients to first rate lactation consultants. She herself received a lot of support and coaching as a La Leche League mom, and regularly connects patients to this excellent (and free) organization with chapters throughout America and the world.