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Breastfeeding or Formula Feeding - The Healthy Choice for New Mothers

Updated on June 28, 2012
Indeed it does, young sir!
Indeed it does, young sir! | Source

The benefits of breast feeding a child are endless. Physically and psychologically, the breast feed infant starts out life with an advantage over formula fed infants. During nursing, an infant receives antibodies to help fight off infections and countless vitamins and minerals to develop properly. The mother passes on infection-fighting antibodies to help the child stay healthy at all stages of life.

A mother also receives many benefits from nursing her child. Emotionally, mother and child connect on a deep level; physically, breast feeding relieves stress and tension for both. The actual act of nursing provides numerous psychological triggers in an infant. Infants are helpless and blank slates to their new world. Nearly always, mothers become the first security, comfort, and emotional figure in the infant's brave new world. The advantages of breast feeding are numerous while the advantages of formula feeding are dwarfed by those of nursing. The only time formula should be advised is if the mother has an infectious disease capable of passing through the breast milk; even then, passing the disease on to the child is not guaranteed as each disease has a different mechanism of transfer.

Not only does breast milk benefit the baby physically, it also provides many important developmental and psychology benefits as well. Breast milk is filled with essential vitamins and minerals that help with and affect development across the lifespan. People who had nursed up to around the age of two tend to score higher on IQ tests than formula fed people. This occurrence is especially true for premature babies who are particularly helpless and unable to adapt properly to their new environment. They need the natural compatibility of human breast milk to help them develop normally. Formula, no matter what it is made of, just does not have the needed compatibility when compatibility is needed most.

The International Breastfeeding Symbol
The International Breastfeeding Symbol | Source

Breast milk and its direct benefits aside, the simple act of breast feeding is one of the most important events a newborn can go through. Breastfeeding provides needed contact between mother and child. The intimacy between mother and infant is greatest at the time of nursing. Nursing is a source of warmth and comfort for the infant. At birth, an infant is helpless and can only see about twelve inches in front himself - the approximate distance from mother's face to baby's face. The mother is clearly viewed, while a shroud covers everything else, making the mother a source of security and familiarity. Many researchers agree this is a crucial time when babies develop new abilities. Many theories, such as the Behaviorists’ theory of emotional development and attachment, suggest that the act of breast feeding is the basis for the infant’s early psychological development. According to this theory, much of the other mental and emotional development across a person’s lifetime comes from the close contact and intimacy shared between mother and infant at this crucial time.

Clearly the benefits of breast milk out weigh all advantages of formula milk. Breast milk provides physical and psychological benefits for both mother and child. Human milk has stood the test of time and has been used as the first food of life since humans first came to be. Breast milk has had thousands of years to change itself into the perfect natural food. As stated by many researchers and agreed upon by nearly all, formula is no substitute for human milk. Why change what is not damaged? Human milk is made for humans, just as cow milk is made for cows. The compatibility is perfect. Just because western science has created a craze over its new alternative does not mean humans should give up the method that has been tried and found to be true for thousands of years. Formula has its place in society for specific situations, yet breast feeding clearly should be the first option for any new mother.

Breastfeeding or Formula Feeding - What is Your Preference?

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