Updated: Feb 25
Breast milk vs. Formula milk: a long-standing debate among mothers and medical professionals alike. With tons of articles and studies online tackling this, there are numerous polarizing opinions, with many arguing that there is no difference between breast milk and formula milk. However, although formula milk has now been manufactured to be incredibly similar to breast milk, there are still massive differences between them. Here at MummyZone, we are big advocators of breast milk, and today, we’re going to tell you why.
What are the health benefits of breast milk for babies?
It is known that no formula can mimic breast milk. In addition to the appropriate amounts of carbohydrates, protein, and fats provided by breast milk, it also contains vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes, and hormones, and breast milk contains antibodies and lymphocytes from the mother that help the child resist infections, because the mother, through touching and caring for the child, comes into contact with Pathogens colonize the baby, as a result of which her body makes appropriate antibodies and immune cells(1).
Human breast milk is the gold standard of infant nutrition - providing nearly all essential nutrients and bioactive substances necessary for optimal development, constantly changing based on the infant's nutritional needs (2)
As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, the World Health Organization recommends that infants should begin breastfeeding within the first hour of life. They should be exclusively breastfed for six months with timely introduction of adequate, safe, and properly fed complementary foods while continuing breastfeeding for up to two years of age (3).
What are the benefits of breastfeeding for babies?
Here are the benefits of breastfeeding on your baby’s health (a lot of research has been done to prove each point mentioned below):
Reduces the possibility of middle ear infections and improves the infant’s immunity.
Maintains regulating body temperature and the development of adipose tissue.
Reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Increases the child's intelligence.
Reduces the risk of leukemia in children.
Reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
Reduces the risk of asthma, eczema, and numerous immune diseases.
Reduces dental problems and ensures correct jaw growth.
Reduces the risk of developing obesity in later life (studies have shown that breast milk contains certain components that can prevent excess weight gain during childhood by contributing to a feeling of energy and satiety) (4).
Reduces the risk of developing mental disorders - in both birthed and adopted children.
Aids in digestion and protects from diarrhea.
What are the advantages of breast milk from formula milk?
Breast milk has a plethora of advantages over formula milk, such as:
Breast milk is fresh, sanitary, and always available at the optimal temperature.
Breast milk is the healthiest option at the lowest cost.
Breastfeeding is easy to practice anywhere and anytime, only requiring some learning for mother and baby early on.
Breastfeeding does not require the preparation and sterilization that bottles and formula milk do.
Breastfeeding is inexpensive, all you need is to follow a healthy regime that fulfills the mother’s needs during this period.
Breast milk can still be produced during pregnancy, making breastfeeding a child possible.
How is the relationship between mother and child during breastfeeding?
The bond between mother and baby runs deep and can be enhanced during breastfeeding. This can improve a mother’s emotional health, leading to reduced feelings of anxiety and a stronger sense of attachment to her child. Not only does this tremendously help the mother, but this bonding time will also form the basis of a child's mental and physical health in the long run.
Besides, as a mother, being able to produce all the nutrients a baby needs can be quite empowering, with many studies indicating that the link between a breastfeeding mother and her baby is stronger than any other human contact. Carrying the baby and holding him on the breast gives the mother a stronger psychological experience than carrying the fetus inside her uterus.
After getting to know the precious treasure that you are growing, you have the option to give it to your baby with all love, and we will be with you step by step to make it easier for you.
From the Mommy Zone team, we are always here for you.
(4) Wang L. et. al. (2017) Breastfeeding Reduces Childhood Obesity Risks. Journal of Childhood Obesity.