How does breast milk compare to baby formula?

During the early 20 th century, women were told that formula was better than breastfeeding . Fortunately, this myth has been thoroughly debunked. Doctors now know that breast milk is superior to formula, and women are encouraged to give breastfeeding a try. At Sunrise Children’s Hospital, our maternity and pediatric specialists know that breastfeeding is often challenging for new moms. Let us work with you to overcome these obstacles and support your healthy, growing family.

Nutrition of breast milk and formula
Infant formula and breast milk both contain the healthy ingredients infants need to thrive, but unfortunately, it’s impossible for formula to mimic the composition of breast milk. A mother’s body has a remarkable ability to produce exactly the right blend of food her baby needs—breast milk can even change to support babies when they’re ill!

Compared to formula, breast milk is easy for little tummies to digest. Consequently, breastfed babies have a lower risk of constipation and diarrhea. Breast milk also contains:

  • Superior, brain-building fats
  • Easily digested whey proteins
  • Intestinal health-boosting oligosaccharides
  • Immune-boosting, living white blood cells
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Easily absorbed iron

Health benefits of breast milk and formula
If breastfeeding simply doesn’t work for you, you can rest assured that you can still raise a very healthy baby with infant formula. But whenever possible, breastfeeding is encouraged because it offers unique health benefits . Breastfed babies have a lower risk of:

  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Meningitis
  • Ear infections
  • Respiratory infections
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Sudden infant death syndrome

Tastes of breast milk and formula
Another way to compare breast milk and formula is by their taste. Formula has one flavor—bland. Breast milk is subtly flavored with everything moms eat.

This might not seem like a major issue, but because breastfed babies are introduced to diverse flavors right from the start, they’re less likely to be picky eaters later on. This also means it might be easier to convince the child to eat a nutritious diet that includes lots of veggies and fruits.

Providing unsurpassed pediatric care is our mission here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas. In addition to our comprehensive, sensitive breastfeeding support services, our childbirth classes and daily discharge classes reflect our commitment to family-centered care.

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