From Dr. Mercola:
Contrary to what infant formula companies want you to believe, infant formula cannot replace breast milk when it comes to protecting your baby’s health and promoting healthy long-term development.
In fact, breastfeeding offers a long list of life-long health benefits not just for the baby but for mother as well.
Considering the fact that babies have been successfully raised on breast milk since the beginning of mankind, it stands to reason that breast milk is a perfect food in every way, providing a growing infant with everything it needs.
Modern science confirms this logic, and it is my hope that more women start reevaluating their choice to substitute breastfeeding with infant formulas.
Nursing even has health benefits beyond nutrition. As noted in the video above, breastfeeding helps expand your child’s palate and allows his oral cavity to develop properly, which helps prevent breathing disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea, and all the health risks associated with such sleep disruptions.
Breast Milk Is a Complete Food
As noted in the featured article in The Stranger:1
“Colostrum, the thick golden liquid that first comes out of a woman’s breasts after giving birth … is engineered to be low in fat but high in carbohydrates and protein, making it quickly and easily digestible …
Mature breast milk, which typically comes in a few days after a woman has given birth, is 3 to 5 percent fat and holds an impressive list of minerals and vitamins: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C, and E.
Long chain fatty acids like DHA (an omega-3) and AA (an omega-6) — both critical to brain and nervous-system development — also abound in mother’s milk.
The principal carbohydrate in breast milk is lactose, which provides copious calories and energy to fuel babies’ relentless round-the-clock growth …
Other sugars are also present, including some 150 oligosaccharides … complex chains of sugars unique to human milk … These oligosaccharides can’t be digested by infants; they exist to feed the microbes that populate a baby’s digestive system.
And speaking of microbes, there’s a ton of them in breast milk … much like yogurt and naturally fermented pickles and kefir, that keep our digestive systems functioning properly.”
Besides healthy bacteria, breast milk is also loaded with nutrient growth factors that support the growth of beneficial bacteria, along with components that inhibit the growth of bad bacteria and yeast.
So breast milk really “primes” your baby’s gut and promotes the colonization of a healthy microbiome. This, we now know, is critical for both short- and long-term health.
Another important nutrient in breast milk that is not found in infant formula is cholesterol, which provides other crucial components for the formation of healthy nerve tissues.
Breast Milk Offers Natural Immunity
As noted in the featured article,2 “Not nearly enough people know about this mind-blowing characteristic of breast milk: It changes daily based on signals from the baby.”