New mothers receive advice every minute from their well wishers and other experienced mothers. The most common topic that comes up is the breastfeeding versus formula feeding. Being a new mommy, even I got endless advice from my relatives, friends and family about the importance of breastfeeding. An ongoing debate, there are plenty of opposing views on this matter. Giving rise to a conscious judgment is necessary for the health and happiness of both the mother and the baby. If you are a new mom and have doubts regarding breastfeeding or formula feeding, keep reading on.

Breast Milk or Formula Milk – What Should A New Mother Opt For?

As per a recent study, young children who were fed with formula milk were not much different than the ones who were breastfed. However, the additional positive developments were identified in breastfed children, against those who weren’t. Here are some remarkable developments seen in the breastfed babies.

● Kids who were nursed as babies showed fewer problems with hyperactivity, by the age of three.
● Breastfed kids score higher on tests of vocabulary and problem solving.
● Breastfed babies have high immunity against viral and bacterial infections.

Breastfeeding is considered to be the best source of nutrition for your baby during the first two years of her life. According to WHO, mothers should exclusively breastfeed their baby for the first six months and continue breastfeeding till he gets two years old. Although there are certain dos and don’ts that every mother should follow. But there could be situations where you choose to formula-feed your infant. A deep knowledge and understanding about the nutritional value and growth differences can help you make a more conscious decision about the question of breastfeeding vs. formula.

Nutritional Value of Breast Milk and Formula Milk

While formula milk contains essential vitamins and minerals, the nourishing content of breast milk is invincible. Let’s check the mutational value of formula milk and breast milk.

1. Formula

You will get a wide range of formulas out in the market and the nutritional value as mentioned on them is as follows:

● Water
● Formula milk contains carbohydrates like lactose.
● It also has protein which are helpful to build bones.
● Fats for weight gain
● Minerals such as potassium citrate, calcium chloride, sodium citrate, etc.
● Vitamins like vitamin D3, vitamin B12, folic acid etc.
● Enzymes and amino acids.

2. Breast Milk

Breast milk is full of nutrients and contain good quantity of vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids and much more.
The list extends to over 200 individual components of breast milk. Here is the complete list.
● Water
● Carbohydrates like lactose.
● Carboxylic acid and lactic acid.
● Proteins such as whey protein
● Non-protein nitrogens
● Amino acids
● Fats and Monounsaturated fatty acids, saturated fatty acids
● Sterols and vitamin D
● Vitamins A, B6, B8, B12, C, D, E, K and numerous others.
● Hormones which are chemical messengers that carry signals to one or a group of cells to another via the blood.
● Enzymes
● Antimicrobial factors, which are used by the immune system to identify and neutralise foreign objects, such as neutrophils, lymphocytes, phagocytes and so on.
● HMO (Human milk oligosaccharides), the 3rd largest solid component in breast milk after fat and lactose, but have no nutritive function. HMOs are responsible for directly stimulating the immune system by promoting good gut bacteria, strengthening the gut barrier function and blocking pathogens. They have been shown to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory effects.
● Breast milk contains plenty of antibodies that prepare babies with a better immune system. In the long run, this proves to be more beneficial for their steady growth and development. Let’s take a look at the advantages of breast milk over formula.

Growth Difference Between Breastfed and Formula-Fed Babies

Here are the discrepancies between the development patterns of babies who are breastfed and their non-nursing counterparts.

1. After Birth: Babies lose about 10% weight in the first ten days of birth. Studies have shown that when it comes to breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, infants fed on breast milk lose more weight than those who are fed formula in the initial weeks of birth. Though breast milk is more nutritious, the supply could be low right after birth. On the other hand, there’s no dearth of formulated milk, which is why babies who are formula-fed weigh more than breastfed children.

2. In the first 3 Months: Health experts believe that once the supply of breast milk normalises, there’s no difference between the growth of formula-fed babies and breastfed babies. Both can enjoy a good supply of nutritious milk and gain weight in a consistent manner.

3. 6 to 12 Months: Doctors recommend that babies be introduced to solid food along with continuing breast milk or formula milk once they complete the 6-month milestone. This is when many mothers begin weaning their babies off milk and add solid food to their daily diet. For infants to grow at a consistent rate, they require a fair amount of energy and proteins. Once a mom tries to wean her baby by introducing him to solid food, breastfeeding gradually decreases.


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