Becoming a mother is one of the most wonderful and challenging times in a woman’s life. It’s a time for celebrations but also a time for preparation, planning and important decision making. One of those decisions being – do I breastfeed or use formula milk?
Many new mothers struggle with the decision to breastfeed or bottle feed their new baby. While many may opt out of breastfeeding, health educators are encouraging mother’s to reconsider.
Why the breast is best
Nursing is a wonderful experience for both mother and baby. It provides ideal nourishment and a special bonding experience that many nursing mothers desire.
Aside from that, breast milk also provides infection-fighting prebiotics (antibodies) that aren’t found in formula. These antibodies are passed from the nursing mother to her baby and can help by increasing the barriers to infection and decreasing the growth of bad bacteria that can create viruses and other infections like:
- Gas, diarrhea and other digestive health issues
- Respiratory infections
- Ear infections
- Childhood obesity
- Eczema and other skin issues
- Immune system
But that’s not all—breast milk is the “perfect food” for the digestive system.
Breast milk delivers the perfect amount of nutrition that promotes easy digestion. Unlike baby formula, which is full of insulin and high in sugar, breast milk contains lactose, protein, fat and prebiotics that all are easily digested by a newborns immature system. Together they work to promote the growth of “friendly bacteria” inside the newborns stomach and fight off any harmful bacteria that may cause chronic illnesses.
Can mother’s benefit from breastfeeding too?
Weight gain, pregnancy hormones and constant fatigue, it’s no secret that pregnancy can take a toll on a woman’s body. But good news moms—you too can benefit from breastfeeding in a number of ways.
Many mothers today play multiple rolls like parent and corporate career woman, leaving very little time to make additional trips to the store for formula and bottles. Breastfeeding is convenient for both mother and child. There’s no waiting when your baby is hungry or need to mix formula and clean bottles and nipples.
Depending on the brand of formula, it is estimated breast feeding can help save thousands. And because of the immunities and prebiotics (antibodies) passed through a mothers’ breast milk, breastfed infants are often less sick than those who use formula, ultimately saving money that would be spent on over-the-counter medicine and doctor office visits.
Every mother looks forward to the time they get to bond with their newborn. Breastfeeding stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin in the mother’s body. That combined with milk ejection and skin-to-skin contact promotes the development of maternal behavior and also bonding between mother and her child.
Breastfeeding may help a mother get back to her pre-pregnancy weight as well. With proper diet and exercise, breast feeding can help burn some additional calories and shrink the uterus, so nursing moms may be able to return to their pre-pregnancy shape and weight quicker. Not to mention, help a mothers overall confidence.
Dr. Frank W. Jackson is a retired gastroenterologist with more than 40 years of research on nutrition and colon health. Today, he is the founder of Jackson GI Medical as well as Prebiotin, a premier prebiotic fiber supplement distribution in the Northeast Valley and available at Cooper’s Nutrition, The Vitamin Shoppes and Sprouts Valleywide. For more information, please visit www.jacksongi.com or www.prebiotin.com.