“A new born baby has only three demands: warmth in the arms of his mother, food from her breasts and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three” – Anonymous.
After going through labor and delivery, the next step for new mothers is adjusting to breast feeding. With respect to our traditional and cultural values, most of us do not step away from breastfeeding unless required by a medical condition. But with changing times and preferences of people, devotion to career/work and determination to get back to pre-pregnancy figure, mothers are adopting powdered infant milk as a substitute to breast feeding. Some infants can also have certain medical conditions which makes it necessary to record how much milk they are drinking and formula milk helps keep exact measurement. Moreover, formula fed baby can have intimate relations with other members of the family as well, especially if the mother is not keeping good health.
Essentially, powdered milk or formula is a substitute for breast milk. Not all women are able to produce breast milk enough to satiate their little ones. Some might have undergone serious breast operations and encounter certain predicaments while breast feeding, whereas some are packed up in the busy world and do not have time to breast feed. Some babies, owing to certain medical conditions may also be fed formula milk. However, we cannot ignore the fact that breastmilk is the ideal food for a baby, and powdered milk is, in the end, an artificially manufactured food that goes against nature.
Powdered milk is also known as dried milk that has been made by vaporizing the liquid content, leaving behind dry powder. Commercial formula milk is a complex combination of proteins, iron, sugars, fats, and vitamins and is manufactured in highly sterile conditions. Though new mothers may want to prepare their own baby formula, it is recommended to opt for commercial formulas so that the baby can get the maximum benefits.
Mothers who are not in a position to breastfeed resort to feeding their babies with formula milk. Though formula is fortified in many minerals required by a growing baby, yet it lacks the important antibodies that breast milk provides to the baby to fight infections and grow. Formula fed babies also eat less, and owing to the fact that it is easily digestible, their stomach needs to do less work as well. Feeding powdered milk also means the mother can get more rest and the other members of the family can also participate in the growing and nurturing of the baby. But powdered milk is expensive, and is not at all a replacement of mother’s milk.
Infant formula nowadays comes packed with minerals and is the next best alternative to mother’s milk. Though it is strongly recommended to exclusively breastfeed a baby for the first six months of life, powdered does come in handy when the mother is not able to breastfeed the baby owing to personal or medical conditions. It may be noted that infant formula can never replicate the mother’s milk in totality.
Apart from being the second choice to breastfeeding, powdered milk does have quite a few disadvantages as well, as listed below:
Experts around the globe stress on feeding a baby with mother’s milk – exclusively till first 5 months, and then till 12 months and further as far as possible. In cases where mothers opt for infant formula milk, owing to either personal or medical conditions, it may be advised to formula feed the baby. This can be helpful in cases where mother is not able to produce enough milk. If a baby is weaned before 12 months, he can be given iron fortified commercial formula milk though cow’s milk is still suggested to be avoided.
Although it’s the personal decision of the mother to choose whether to breast feed or switch to powdered infant milk, most doctors and health institutes suggest that formula milk should not be used to supplement breast milk. The advantages are not just limited to the baby, but for the mother too. Breast feeding relaxes the mum and helps in losing weight too. Breastfeeding has found to reduce the risk of certain cancers such as breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Here are some amazing benefits of breastfeeding for mother.
“While breastfeeding may not seem the right choice for every parent, it is the best choice for the baby” – Amy Sponger