Breastfeeding - Is It Always Better Than Formula Feeding?
It’s no secret that newborns are fed milk till they are old enough to consume solid foods, otherwise known as weaning. However, has it ever crossed your mind why milk is the go-to food for babies, and not other types of fluids? 🧐
Milk, in general, provides minerals and vitamins such as calcium and protein, which are vital building blocks in a child’s growth. Before they start weaning, milk is sufficient to provide them with nutrients and hydration. A paediatrician will only recommend other fluids, such as an oral rehydration solution, when the baby is vomiting or having diarrhoea and requires electrolytes to prevent dehydration.
If the mummies are healthy, it is highly recommended for them to breastfeed their toddlers. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there is no better food for babies than breast milk, till they are 6 months old. It provides the best mix of all the nutrients they need to grow tall and strong, and also contains antibodies that protect them from diseases. Breast milk magically adapts its composition to suit the baby’s growth needs as well. What’s more, it’s free! What else could beat that? 🤩
Although breastfeeding is the ideal food choice, there are some cases where it might not be suitable. It’s not recommended when mothers have illnesses and infections, or when they are undergoing radiation treatment or medication. Drugs, radiation, and viruses can be transmitted to babies through breast milk, and these may pose serious health risks to them. Breastfeeding could pose added stress to the mummies if they are facing postpartum depression too. Don’t take it hard on yourself if you have to stop, as your top priority should be nursing your mental health.
Today, formula milk has come incredibly close to providing what breast milk gives. They are formulated to cater to the needs of various age groups, mimicking the various compositions of breast milk at different stages. In some cases, bottle-feeding can be on par, or even better than its counterpart. It is a good alternative for mothers who are ill, as well as babies who have rare medical conditions that forbid human milk.
For improved bonding, and also sanity, both parents can contribute equally in feeding too, granting mummy more freedom. Mothers can also avoid awkward situations such as having to feed in public!
As much as it is obvious what the popular opinion is, make the decision based on your circumstances. Don’t be distressed or blame yourself if situations aren’t favourable. There is no right or wrong, just what keeps your boat sailing! 👼🏼
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