Ever since I started being a mom, I had become a breastfeeding advocate. At first it was because I know it was the best for Ben. But I admit, during the first month I was tempted to quit. Thankfully, we got past that. However, as the months passed I had become even more informed and determined to breastfeed not just because of it's benefits but because of the risks of the alternatives. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against mothers who don't breastfeed. I just think it is best to be informed and if I can get even just one mom to read this then I already did my job. I still have a lot to learn but will do my best to summarize what I have learned so far :)
Let me start off by saying that when we say formula milk, we are referring to not just infant formula, but more importantly formula milk for toddlers. In the US, the American Academy of Pediatricians recommend whole cow's milk for children beyond one and not formula. In fact, they recommend that toddlers who aren't breastfed take in only about 16-24 oz 0r 2-3 cups a day and that the rest of the nutrition he/she gets from solid foods. This allows the child to practice eating a more balanced diet, lessening the chance of obesity and iron deficiency. It seems that too much milk is not a good thing. Since cow's milk itself is an allergen, it can cause allergic reactions resulting to breathing problems. Also, do you know that cow's milk protein causes bleeding in our gut, affecting also our kidneys and liver? And it ironically can causes osteoporosis, yikes! Because of the composition of cow's milk, our body is actually forced to leak calcium to process it. For more details on the effect of dairy products, go here
Anyway, as much as milk companies try to make their product, there's still a lot of room for improvement. Irresponsible cow breeders expose cows to chemicals that give them hormonal and other health issues which can be passed on to humans who ingest them. This is why there have been reports of formula-fed girls having menstruation at age 4. Also, the process of production, from storage to packaging is prone to a lot of contaminants that are toxic. How come we are not that much informed about this? In our country, milk is a very competitive 40Billion industry. They can afford to invest a lot in marketing to make consumers feel that it's a must in a person's diet when it's not. Hopefully in the future these problems will be resolved. In the meantime, we must be careful about where we source our milk. (In most countries, formula milk is sold only for infants under the age of one. Here in our country, we have formula milk for almost everyone, even for a breastfeeding mommy!)
More importantly, all the more we should support mothers who breastfeed. Most people would be very encouraging towards mothers breastfeeding their infants, but it is a different story when the child becomes a toddler. They might receive comments like "isn't he/she too old to be breastfed" or "aren't you afraid your breasts will sag? (which by the way is hereditary and not breastfeeding related). I once went to a doctor (non-pedia) and mentioned I was breastfeeding so I have to be careful with taking medication. He asked me how old was Ben. When I told the doctor that Ben was past a year old, he told me that I should be giving formula by now or at least mix feeding. It broke my heart :( Breastfeeding has a lot of benefits that are even more important during a child's second year and beyond. It is not just for the purposes of nutrition and immunity against diseases. It is good for them emotionally and psychologically as well. Here are some of the many reasons why breastfeeding is beneficial.
Hope this post helps :) My apologies for the serious tone. I promise the next post will be a fun one :)