Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Breast Milk vs Infant Formula

I have known since I was a kid that breast milk is best for babies. Medical and scientific communities agree to that. The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes breast milk as the gold standard in infant nutrition. That is why I am planning to breast feed my baby. I am hoping to have enough milk for him. Infant formula is an alternative for me but I do prioritize breast milk over it. Although companies tout their formula brands as offering the same benefits as breast milk, but none do. Infant formula is safe for babies, but more people need to know the truth behind this breast-milk substitute, especially when coping with guilt.

According to Dr. Barbara Levine of Weill Cornell Medical College, many women are unable to breastfeed for the duration of the first twelve months, especially if they are on medication, have multiple births, or must return to work during these difficult economic times. These moms often experience feelings of guilt if they choose not breastfeed, so they purchase expensive formula. But very few really know the truth about infant formula. I knew some moms who did choose the later. They said formulas were really expensive but they had no choice because they didn't produce enough breast milk for their babies. “Buying a heavily marketed, expensive, brand-name infant formula from a big pharmaceutical company does not get your baby any closer to human breast milk than a
store brand formula,” added Dr. Levine. “Mothers can choose to supplement their breast milk with any formula because all formulas are regulated by FDA and nutritionally equivalent.”

The store-brand message is set to become even more important for many mothers because of changes in the Women, Infants and Children program. My friend who applied for WIC told me too about the changes. As of October 1, 2009, a new WIC initiative aimed at increasing breastfeeding rates among families reallocates funding for all currently provided foods, including infant formula, baby foods, juices, and fresh fruits and vegetables. This program could mean a reduction of up to 20 percent in infant-formula subsidies; parents who previously had most of their formula paid for by WIC may now have to purchase formula on their own. As for me, I'll try my best to have enough breast milk for my little one but I'll still consider infant formula too. I am due next year.


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1 comment:

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