Can bottle-feeding be a good alternative to breast milk?
When deciding on the way of feeding a baby, it is important to understand what is included in breast milk and formula, and how they differ and impact the kid’s health and sleep. In some ways, the adapted formula has lots in common with breast milk. Both contain nutrients and energy-valuable ingredients so that a child will develop and grow up healthy.
In the case of infant formula, it’s a bit harder to select the one suitable for the peculiarities of the kid’s needs. So, you’ll spend a while doing the needed research, visiting a doctor, and studying the ingredients that must suit your little one. But you’ll surely find the right formula with the huge abundance of selection on the market. And in the case of breast milk, it adapts to the nutrition needs easily. But is the baby formula a good alternative to breast milk? Let’s find it out.
What is in Breast Milk and Infant Formula?
Each drop of breast milk contains thousands of useful ingredients, including:
- antibodies to protect against disease
- hormones to stimulate a healthy appetite
- leukocytes to fight infections
- beneficial bacteria
- long-chain fatty acids
The content of the formula may vary depending on the country and manufacturer, but usually, infant formula is made from processed cow milk. To make sure your little one receives the same nutrients as in breast milk, it’s recommended to give preferences to organic baby food. The point is that it is made from at least 95% natural components thus reducing the risk of digestive issues. The content of the best organic formula is as follows:
- lactose (natural sugar contained in breast milk)
- Omega-3, Omega-6
- vitamins, iron, calcium
- probiotics, prebiotics
Some formulas for children with digestive problems contain easily digestible fat (beta-palmitate), the structure of which is close to the fatty acids of breast milk, which helps to reduce bowel movements.
The Effect of Formula on the Child’s Immunity
It is believed that bottle-feeding hurts immunity. Both bottle-fed and breastfed infants get sick the same. The number of diseases depends on such factors as parental genetics, hygiene, climatic conditions, and more. Of course, breast milk contains antibodies that help the baby’s body fight viruses, but it happens as long as a baby sucks the breast. When you introduce complimentary food, the body will be forced to adapt and readjust its work, so the immune system will begin an active stage of formation. The bottle-fed kids’ organisms are forced from the first days to fight infections on their own. But there is a plus because their bodies are protected from their mothers’ diseases. In addition, there is no need to worry about food allergies.
Benefits of Bottle-feeding
- Any family members can feed a baby thus giving a mother to relax
- Baby formula is easy to prepare
- The formula is absorbed longer by the baby’s body than breast milk, so the time between feedings increases
- Bottle-feeding allows a mother, if necessary, to go to work
- Parents can control the amount of food a kid receives
- You can drink and eat anything! Wine, coffee, spicy foods, dairy products – all that is impossible during breastfeeding. Since nothing you eat or drink gets into the baby’s digestive system with milk, you don’t need to worry.
Infant milk consists entirely of vitamins and nutrients. Although it does not contain antibodies contained in breast milk, it’s still nutritious because there are more than 25 vitamins and minerals that are vital to the baby’s health.
If you decide to start feeding a kid with formula, do it gradually. Children do not immediately get used to new food so such problems as diarrhea and discoloration of the stool can appear. Do not rush to change the formula if a baby has a stomach upset or constipation. Sometimes a child needs from a week to a month to finally adapt to a new diet.