I cannot count how many mothers have said, “My mother fed me formula and I grew just fine.” No argument there. But is growth the only outcome any of us are hoping for? Before you give your baby formula, consider that you are:
… buying into the myth that formula is “almost as good.”
For years, formula manufacturers have been selling us on the idea that giving your baby formula is nearly as good as breastfeeding. Yet, formula is not even in the ballpark.
A mother’s milk is a miracle substance. It provides more than nutrition — it provides living human cells! Through her milk, a mother provides a “remote control” immune system for her baby, one that is highly responsive to the germs in their shared environment. But infant formula cannot do that.
Infant formula is “almost as good” as a mother’s own milk in the same way that a 1-carat perfect cubic zirconia may be “almost as good” as a 1-carat perfect diamond, or a Rolls-Royce is “almost as good” as a Volkswagen. Their basic appearance and purpose are the same, but that’s about where the similarities end.
… giving your baby less than the best.
In the 1970s, Derrick Jelliffe said, “Breast is best”! By now, it’s a fact, not an opinion.There are piles of scientific studies showing the superiority of human milk for human babies.
Don’t believe me? C’mon. Be brave! Download and read this tome by Ip and colleagues: who report,
“We screened over 9,000 abstracts. Forty-three primary studies on infant health outcomes, 43 primary studies on maternal health outcomes, and 29 systematic reviews or meta-analyses that covered approximately 400 individual studies were included in this review. We found that a history of breastfeeding was associated with a reduction in the risk of acute otitis media, non-specific gastroenteritis, severe lower respiratory tract infections, atopic dermatitis, asthma (young children), obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and necrotizing enterocolitis.”
And that paragraph addresses only the “baby” aspect! They also reported how breastfeeding mothers are protected against diseases, too.
It may be uncomfortable to hear this. But if you’re giving your human baby something other than human milk, including infant formula, you are giving him less than the best that you have available.
… disempowering yourself and your body.
For decades, I’ve heard the concern that we shouldn’t talk about breastfeeding, out of concern for “those women who can’t breastfeed.”
Unquestionably, there are mothers who cannot breastfeed. There are also mothers who have four kidneys, one arm, and bifurcated uteri. However, they produce and pass urine, pick up and carry items and babies, and conceive and bear children. With rare exceptions, women can breastfeed.
Nearly all who say they “can’t” breastfeed are lacking either the internal motivation or the external support — or both. It may be negative feedback from others, labor practices that get breastfeeding off to a bad start, lack of confidence, or any plenty of other circumstances that undercut breastfeeding. But in the vast majority of cases it isn’t that the mother’s body can’t make milk.
… empowering Big Business to create your child’s growth and ill-being.
That’s right, I said “ill-being.” Remember, the outcome we’re looking for here is not just growth. It’s not even health in early human development. We’re talking lifelong health here, folks.
And, yes it may very well be that even one bottle of infant formula can make a difference, and you want to do all that you can to make sure your baby’s microbiome has the long-term benefits.
… trusting the FDA to control formula safety and efficacy (when maybe you shouldn’t).
You may, like so many other parents, believe that infant formula is completely safe, and that it is put through rigorous testing by the FDA before it can be fed to babies. That’s not the case.
The FDA doesn’t test infant formula before it hits the market. The agency does establish guidelines for manufacturers, but it relies heavily on industry self-regulation. There are problems with this system, as I discussed with special guest Dr. George Kent.
So just think about it before you give your baby formula.
If you want to bring better health to the next generation, share this post with new parents to share the importance of breastfeeding!