Font Size
A
A
A
2
...

Breastfeeding (cont.)

Comparison With Formula-Feeding

  • The ideal food for human infants is human milk. Human milk contains all the right ingredients -- protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water -- in just the right balance. No formula can make that claim. Infant formula manufacturers attempt to artificially duplicate human milk. Formula feeding is a practice that is relatively recent -- about 60 years -- compared to the beginning of humankind (not to mention all other mammals) relying on breast milk.
  • Formula does not contain the disease-fighting factors or the digestive enzymes that breast milk has. The nutrients in formula are more difficult for a baby to digest and absorb than the nutrients in human milk, requiring the baby to handle excess waste. Some formulas may have a less than optimal composition by containing too much salt and/or not enough cholesterol, fats, lactose, zinc, and iron, among other nutrients.
  • Some infants fed a cow's milk-based formula may develop allergies to the proteins in the cow's milk. Infants who are allergic to cow's milk often are also allergic to "hypoallergenic" (non-allergy-causing) soy formulas.
  • During the early months, a formula-fed baby may develop signs of allergy to or intolerance of a particular formula. These signs may include the following:
    • Bouts of crying after feeding
    • Vomiting after most feedings
    • Persistent diarrhea or constipation
    • Colic with a distended tense painful abdomen after feeding
    • Generally irritable behavior
    • A red, rough sandpaper-like rash especially around the face or anus or in both places
    • Frequent colds and ear infections
    • Red itchy rash especially in the folds of the elbow and knee joints
  • These signs, or the baby's preference, may lead you through a series of different formulas, often each more expensive than the last.
  • Formula-fed infants may be exposed to a variety of environmental substances used during the preparation of the formula or carried as a minor contaminate from which breastfed infants are protected.
  • The protein in formula (cow's milk or soy-based) may be too large for infants to digest and may lead to stomach discomfort and intolerance to formula.
Medical Author:

Must Read Articles Related to Breastfeeding

Amenorrhea
Amenorrhea Amenorrhea, the absence of menstrual bleeding, can be either primary or secondary. Causes of amenorrhea include problems with the hypothalamic, pituitary, ovari...learn more >>
Breast Infection
Breast Infection Mastitis is an infection of the tissue of the breast that occurs most frequently during the time of breastfeeding. This infection causes pain, swelling, redness...learn more >>
Breast Lumps and Pain
Breast Lumps and Pain Breast changes are common. From the time a girl begins to develop breasts and begins menstruating and throughout life, women may experience various kinds of bre...learn more >>




Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Counseling the Breastfeeding Mother »

In the time before managed care and "drive-through" deliveries, the vast majority of newborns remained in the hospital for several days after birth.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary