Finally, something about nutrition for which there is no controversy!-->the best feeding choice for any newborn is mom’s own milk. Even though there are reports in the news questioning whether or not breastfeeding helps to prevent obesity in children, or whether it is truly protective against asthma, everyone agrees that it is the first and most important nutritional decision you will make for your child.
The benefits of breastmilk over formula are many. From providing the immediate bonding experience, to giving the all important immune properties that are unique in breast milk to the health benefits that mom receives as well, human breast milk is the optimum choice for babies.
Solids should only be introduced after 6 months, with breast milk as the milk of choice until one year of age, and beyond.
Here are just some of the benefits that babies will get from your milk by providing protective factors that help a baby’s immune system. Compared to formula fed babies, breastfed babies have, overall, less gastrointestinal (diarrhea) illnesses, fewer respiratory infections, a decreased risk of developing allergies, an improved fatty acid profile in their blood, some protection against cancer, better bone health, protection against inflammatory bowel disease, and possible protection against celiac disease. And what about mom? You benefit too. How? With better psychological well being, and bonding, possible protection against cancer, reduced risk of osteoporosis later on in life, easier weight loss after delivery. Not to mention the ecologic, economical and convenience factors of breastfeeding.
The changing flavors of breast milk versus the single flavored formula are also an advantage to babies. Mom’s own diet ‘flavor’s the milk with her own food choices, and this help a baby adapt to different tastes over time- perhaps helping to encourage more variety in their diet later on! Make the decision to breast feed your baby. If you need help with any aspect of feeding, seek out help early from a reliable profession, such as a trained lactation consultant.
Daina Kalnins, MSc., RD
Co-author and Author of;
Better Baby Food (D. Kalnins, J. Saab, Robert Rose Pub., 2001)
Better Food for Kids (J. Saab, D. Kalnins, Robert Rose Pub., 2002)
Better Food for Pregnancy (D. Kalnins, J. Saab, Robert Rose Pub., 2006)
Better Breastfeeding (D. Kalnins, Robert Rose Pub., 2007)