The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that ‘Breast is Best’. They recommend a baby should be exclusively fed with breast milk for the first six months because of the health benefits to both mum and baby. It is thought to be that beneficial that mothers are now encouraged to continue nursing into toddlerhood and beyond.+
Believe it or not but in the first half of the 20th century women were discouraged by health staff to breast feed as it was seen as old-fashioned and lower class. This seems crazy today as it has been proven breastmilk comprises of many beneficial substances; including antibodies that kills germs.
Furthermore, breastmilk changes on a day-by-day basis to meet the need of your baby’s daily needs. For example, if a baby is thirsty, it will be waterier. Melatonin that is needed for sleep rises and falls in the breastmilk to help your baby sleep; it is even present in breastmilk that has been frozen. Breastmilk has even been shown to improve reduced inflammation from neonatal sepsis and analgesic effect on your baby.
On the flip side what about the new mum who is struggling to breastfeed, aren’t physically able to produce enough, or feel the strain and pressure to persevere with breastfeeding. Let’s focus on not being able to physically produce enough milk; one in seven new mums don’t produce enough milk that is required by their baby. There can be severe consequences that can go unnoticed if your baby isn’t getting enough milk; they are at risk of dehydration, brain damage or even death.
Additionally, what about the mother, they are pumping or feeding all day, they have no time to themselves, and are more sleep deprived. Yes, a partner can help do this if the milk is expressed but what if the mother can’t express or the baby refuses the bottle – the burden falls on the mum. All these factors lead to exhaustion and poor mental health, with women feeling near suicidal. Postnatal depression affects 1 in 10 women and many doctors will prescribe them antidepressants instead of addressing the problem of breastfeeding, because they are told to recommend breastfeeding.
I guess the biggest selling point to breastmilk it is free, which is fine in countries like the UK that give good maternity rights but what about countries like the USA were the average maternity leave is only 10 weeks, with many parents not being able to afford that.
Should the statement be ‘Fed is Best’, this is my opinion whether you agree or not is that, it should not matter whether your baby is having breastmilk or formula but that they are receiving enough nutrition to help them grow and develop.