Milk, milk, milk – that’s the ultimate word in your baby’s dictionary in his first year. As newborns, milk is their only food source as they still have immature digestive system, and as a matter of fact, it takes some time for your baby to develop fully developed digestion system that can support real, solid food (besides, “real” food is a choking hazard for your baby anyway). As your little dumpling grows, he begins to eat other types of foods, but still depends largely on the milk. Later, after you no longer able to produce enough breast milk, your child may need daily intake of formula to get the required amount of nutrition and calcium. In short, milk contains vitamins, protein, fat, lactose and various minerals needed by any baby. After birth, the mammary glands of any mature female mammals produce enough milk to sustain their offspring for about 4 to 6 months.
That said, when discussing about baby’s food – it always be the choice between formula and breast milk.
Formula or Breast Milk?
The last century, with all of its advances, made our life so much easier, but everything becomes much more complicated too. For thousands of years, new mothers breastfeed their babies or ask someone else to do it. Without breastfeeding, babies can’t survive. In fact, in the 20th century, doctors and other health professionals have begun to say that synthetic formula is a better alternative. However, in recent years, doctors and researchers have returned to breastfeeding, because they believe that Mother Nature knows what’s best for the child and synthesizing breast milk in factory is simply impossible. In fact, the WHO (World Health Organization) and the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) agree that breastfeeding is a highly recommended course of action. As a parent, you need to overcome obstacles while concentrating on potential benefits of breastfeeding. Without doubt, breastfeeding – hands down, offers the best nutrition possible and there are many reasons for that.
Pure Goodness Since the First Day: Colostrum
Before the birth, mothers’ body begins to prepare for the task of breastfeeding. As a matter of fact, the breasts of the mother specially produced a liquid known as colostrum – a yellow thick liquid that does not even resemble milk. Colostrum is the first thing your baby needs and can benefit your baby in many ways:
* Antibodies: They help develop your baby’s immune system and are available in high concentrations within the colostrum.
* Nutrition: Colustrum contains concentrated carbohydrates, protein and fat, needed by the babies.
* Laxatives: Colostrum lubricates the brand new digestive system to aid in its first bowel movement. Your baby’s gastrointestinal system will be ready for the milk that comes in a few days after delivery.
Finally, the mother’s breasts begin to produce what we call as “milk” instead of colostrum. The fluid becomes whiter and thinner in color, but still cram-full of important nutrition for babies.
So, why choosing breast milk is both beneficial for you and your newborn baby? Consider these ingredients found in breast milk:
* More than 100 beneficial components – including digestive enzymes, vitamins, minerals and hormones – that can’t be synthesized by formula manufacturers.
* Special proteins inside the milk can enhance your baby’s undeveloped digestive system.
* High levels of lactose and large amounts of carbohydrates inside the breast milk can improve brain development and global growth.
* Fatty acids such as ARA and DHA promote the development of the nervous system, while oligosaccharides are good for intestinal health.
* Breast milk is designed by Mother Nature for your baby. It changes according to baby’s age, giving your baby what he needs in terms of calories and nutrition.
* Breast milk is the real fast food – no buying, heating or mixing.
* Breastfed babies have less risks of ear infections, diarrhea, cramps, and constipation, also fewer visits to the doctor than most formula-fed infants. Researchers initially thought that the benefit was due to the feeding position, but recent studies say it’s more because of antibodies and nutrition in breast milk.
* Breastfeeding promotes a natural bond between parents and the child.
* Formula is expensive and breast milk is free!
Dealing With the Challenges of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a good way of feeding your baby, but it isn’t always an easy choice. For some, breastfeeding provides major benefits, but you should understand that this does not apply for everyone – certain women have problem breastfeeding. Sometimes, the milk is just not there, or they have blocked ducts. However, the success of breastfeeding really depends on a few factors – some are controllable while others are not.
Consider these typical challenges when breastfeeding your newborn:
General problems: Many women have to deal with a number of problems of breastfeeding, for example, low milk production, sore nipples, cracked nipples, emotional issues, and anxiety. They are common and often can be addressed, but may add a lot of tension to an inexperienced mother.
Working women: Barriers to motherhood due to career demands are sometimes insurmountable! Yes, breastfeeding can be complicated, if Mommy must go to work. Mothers who breastfeed can pump fresh milk every day before work. The milk can be used all day for bottle feeding when the mother is absent. Breast milk can also freeze well.
Privacy: Breastfeeding can be challenging for mothers who believe in privacy. They can bring a special breastfeeding blanket along so that they can cover up during breastfeeding in public.
Effects of diet: In general, mothers should watch their daily diet, because everything they eat is passed along from mother to child through breast milk. Because of this, some foods that mothers enjoy, like chocolate, can give your babies some digestive problems. Certain food groups may require trial and error experiments to see its effect on a child. In general, breastfeeding women need to avoid acidic food, as well as alcohol and caffeine.
Health problems: If the mother has a preexisting health condition, she can still breastfeed. Even so, breastfeeding can put an extra toll on the mother’s already ill body, so it is necessary she take special care of herself. Arrange a meeting with your doctor to talk about concerns about breastfeeding in relation to your current health conditions.
In light of these roadblocks, it is important to be aware that breastfeeding is by far the best option for the baby. Therefore, it is important to examine obstacles and work out a plan with a physician if any of your problems seem very difficult to solve.