Q&A: How Breast Milk is Better than Formula
Q: My father thinks that I shouldn’t have to breastfeed because of the improved formulas on the market. What can I tell them to convince them that breastfeeding is best for baby?
A: It is true that formulas are improved over what they used to be, but unfortunately, they still have a LONG way to go to match the superior nutrition of breast milk. Consider these unmatchable qualities of breast milk/breastfeeding:
Your breastmilk changes – throughout a feeding, throughout the day, and throughout the entire nursing experience. As your baby grows and develops, his nutritional needs change. While some formula companies have come out with an older baby version of their product, there is no way they can come up with the variety your milk will provide.
Your breast milk contains living cells and other disease-fighting components that are made by your breast in response to whatever you or your baby has been exposed to. Formula can’t do that.
Your breast milk changes flavor and taste, depending on what you have been eating. This helps prepare your baby to eat and enjoy the variety of food you’ll be introducing to him later on. Formula is always the same taste and smell – neither of which is particularly pleasant!
There are things in breast milk that have yet to be identified, or even if they have been identified, the formula companies haven’t found a way to put them in a can. Formula is an ongoing experiment, with our children as unwitting participants.
Formula can provide adequate nutrition for a growing infant who cannot breastfeed, but it is, by definition, substandard. Breast milk is the gold standard of infant nutrition!
By Melissa Clark Vickers
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
Moms & Babies Huntingdon, Tenn.