A report by the CDC provides interesting insight regarding breastfeeding and baby formula. According to the report, by the time a baby reaches six months of age, most parents stop exclusively breastfeeding them. At the same time, these parents grow dependent on baby formula. Some parents alternate between baby formula and breastmilk, but needless to say, their dependency on baby formula is very evident.
However, too much dependency on baby formula is never a good thing. In fact, it’s bad for your infant’s health. Here’s why that’s the case.
Breast milk is a complex fluid that adapts to the changing needs of a growing baby. It contains essential nutrients, enzymes, hormones, and antibodies that protect against infections and diseases.
In contrast, baby formula is a processed substitute that attempts to mimic breast milk’s nutritional profile. However, it cannot replicate the dynamic nature of breast milk, leaving infants at a higher risk of nutritional deficiencies.
Breast milk plays a crucial role in developing a strong immune system in infants. It contains immunoglobulins, white blood cells, and other components that provide passive immunity, protecting the baby from various infections and illnesses. Baby formula lacks these essential immune-boosting properties, making infants more susceptible to respiratory infections, gastrointestinal issues, and allergies.
The composition of breast milk supports the growth of beneficial bacteria in an infant’s gut, promoting healthy digestion and optimal nutrient absorption.
On the other hand, baby formula can disrupt the delicate balance of gut bacteria, leading to digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, and colic. These issues can further contribute to discomfort, nutritional imbalances, and compromised growth and development.
Breastfeeding has been associated with a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases later in life. Studies have shown that breastfed infants have lower rates of obesity, diabetes, asthma, allergies, and certain cancers. In contrast, formula-fed infants may face an increased risk of these chronic conditions, partly due to the absence of bioactive components in breast milk that contribute to long-term health benefits.
Some baby formulas can also cause necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). As explained by TorHoerman Law, NEC is a gastrointestinal disease that affects infants. This disease leads to intestinal inflammation and causes cells to die and holes to form in the intestine. As a result, harmful and deadly bacteria leak in and infect the baby’s intestines.
The NEC lawsuit was filed to tackle the challenges posed by these toxic baby formulas. Even popular brands like Enfamil and Similac were also involved in the NEC lawsuits. As per the toxic baby formula lawsuits, those who received bovine-based baby formula while under hospital care or as a present from a hospital qualify for the lawsuit and can file claims accordingly.
The NEC lawsuits also stand witness to how risky baby formulas can get and how badly they can impact your child’s health.
Breastfeeding helps develop a unique bond between mother and baby. Skin-to-skin contact, eye contact, and the act of breastfeeding release hormones that contribute to the baby’s emotional and cognitive development. Relying solely on baby formula can deprive infants of these vital bonding experiences, potentially impacting their emotional well-being and social development.
Breastfeeding offers several health benefits for mothers as well. According to Parents.com, breastfeeding offers the following benefits for a mother:
- Severely lowers the risk of you developing breast and ovarian cancer, as well as various other diseases.
- Helps you lose pregnancy weight much faster.
- Triggers your uterus to shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size and shape.
- Chances are there that it will lower your risk of osteoporosis.
- Greatly reduces the risk of you developing postpartum depression.
- Leads to menstruation delays.
- Allows you to cultivate closeness with your baby and helps establish a solid bond.
By solely relying on formula, mothers miss out on these advantages, potentially impacting their own well-being.
In this day and age, there’s little to no scope for you to ignore baby formula entirely. Even the marketing campaigns that formula manufacturers run to promote their products are becoming more and more aggressive, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the report, the $55 billion formula industry employs various exploitative practices when promoting these products, which oftentimes violate international commitments.
Thus, the responsibility falls on you, as a parent, to make sure that you don’t become too dependent on baby formula. You can, of course, use it from time to time. However, if you think you’re becoming too dependent on it, turn to the points discussed above to realize why it’s wrong for you to do so.