Breast feeding or formula, what's the best?
Many moms, especially newbies, are concerned about how to feed their babies, especially during the first six months, because despite of WHO guidelines, there's still controversies about the best way to feed little babies, particularly due to agenda conflicts between mommies' duties and babies feeding hours.
From a strictly scientific, evidence based point of view, the best way to feed a baby under six months is solely breast feeding, in fact, it's not necessary to add water nor vitamins, everything needed by the baby is on breast milk; even more, breast feeding helps to improve little babies immune system because of antibodies transfers from the mother through the milk.
Nevertheless, nowadays it's hard for many women to raise their babies solely with breast feedind, especially single moms who need to resume their jobs quickly, making them to face a schedule conflict between their working labors and the baby's feeding hours.
On the other hand, there's also an increasing trend to tag negatively breast feeding moms, especially when in public, which may inhibit mothers from breast feed their babies due to social concerns.
When such situations occurs, special milk formulas are an option but it's mandatory to keep in mind that even when nutritional requirements could be met, artificial formulas have also a negative side which parents must be aware of and usually are not shown on the product label.
Such negative features are the potential development of allergies towards cow milk proteins, constipation concerns and the lack of antibodies which can be provided only buy human milk. On the other hand it's harder for babies the digestion of artificial formulas, especially during the first month because of digestive system immaturity.
Beside the aforementioned, there's also an economic issue since most of commercially available infant formulas are very expensive and out of the reach of many families, especially on developping countries.
When asking experts on medicine and nutrition about the best option, the answer is unanimous: Breast feeding is the best choice; however at the end of the day, and considering individual, particular situations, it's an individual decision.
Of course, when possible, there's nothing better than breast feeding during the first months of life, but when it's not possible to regularly breast feed the baby, other options must be considered such as complimentary formula feeding or exclusive formula feeding.
Regardless of the option, remember to get advice from your pediatrician before include feeding changes on your baby's routines.