Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is the physiologically natural way to feed infants. Therefore, the composition of breast milk is the norm for human infants. Breast milk contains several key components that help promote the growth of a healthy child s gastrointestinal tract and a robust immune system and all-natural substances that help to protect against inflammation and infection. While it is almost entirely natural, several artificial ingredients can sometimes interfere with the benefits of naturally produced breast milk.
Common synthetic ingredients in formulas
include bovine insulin-like growth factor (bGH), Biotin, calf’s liver oil, and calcium carbonate. Although these ingredients have been recognized for some time as potential causes of health problems, recent research has shown that some of them may actually hinder or even reverse the beneficial effects of breastfeeding. For example, studies have shown that the synthetic form of vitamin D that is typically found in the pill forms of vitamin D can cause lower production of milk. The same is true for the mineral calcium carbonate which can lead to decreased production. Other potentially problematic artificial ingredients include sodium caseinate and guar gum, both of which have been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer.
Several common ingredients
are too highly processed and chemically treated to be beneficial for infant formula. These ingredients include soybean oil, yeast extract, corn syrup, fructose, artificial flavorings, hydroquinone, sodium benzoate, zinc, copper, and preservatives. Several manufacturers will add these questionable ingredients as a means to make their formulas easier and cost-effective. Unfortunately, some mothers will continue to feed their infants formulas despite the evidence surrounding the chemicals used in formula feed and breast milk that is just not desirable for their growing infants.
Many of the health concerns of formula feeding
and breastfeeding stems from the fact that most babies do not receive adequate antibodies to help protect them against illness and infection. In fact, according to statistics, babies who are fed formula feed tend to have lower than normal antibody titers. Most infants who are fed breast milk develop strong antibodies well before they turn one year old. They also have higher than normal antibody titers to help fight infection when they are older. Studies have shown that babies who are breastfed also tend to have higher than normal numbers of mother’s natural killer cells (MCs) which are primarily designed to destroy viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding has been shown to help babies retain these important antibodies, which can lead to fewer infections and illnesses in later years.
One of the major benefits of breastfeeding
is improved mineral intake. Scientific research has shown that breastmilk provides significantly more vitamins and minerals than do commercial baby formulas. Some of these include calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and sodium all of which are essential for healthy young growth. Breastfeeding mothers can also expect to receive all eight of the B vitamins necessary for general good health, as well as folic acid, which is particularly important for pregnant women and new mothers.
In addition to better mineral and vitamin intake
many scientific studies have found that breastfed babies have a healthier immune system than do formula-fed babies. The reduction of toxins in the system has been linked to a reduction in asthma attacks, rhinitis, diarrhea, and other illnesses. Medical research has also shown that breastfed babies tend to be less likely to suffer from respiratory infections. Most of this evidence comes from observational studies, meaning that researchers have not linked any particular breastfeeding regimen to a reduced risk of respiratory infections.