Pregnancy - Part Three
Breastfeeding & Healthier Formula Options
Breast milk is known far and wide to be the most complete, wholesome form of nutrition for a baby's health and development. Research
has shown that breastfeeding strengthens baby's immune system, reduces respiratory illnesses, helps protect against childhood allergies, and decreases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Nursing a baby has amazing benefits for mom too, such as accelerating the gradual postpartum weight loss and returning the uterus to its normal size. Breastfeeding can also help prevent the onset of osteoporosis and reduce the risk of certain cancers (ovarian, uterine, endometrial and breast). Beneficial bacteria gets shared with baby through feeding, and mom's emotional health is enhanced during this bonding time.
Infant formulas can cover some of the nutritional scope of breast milk, but the ideal ratio of nutrients is hard to manufacture. Sadly, most commercial formulas (even "natural & organic" brands) contain ingredients that don't add up to real nutrients. Many formula options out there have high amounts of additives like corn syrup solids, sugar and poor quality hydrogenated oils. Nowhere near the quality of breast milk!
If mom is unable to nurse or find access to donor milk, a homemade baby formula might be easier than it sounds (check out Sally Fallon's homemade formula recipe
from her book Nourishing Traditions
If purchasing a formula powder is the preferred way to go, always ensure it's certified organic, non-GMO, and free of soy and brown rice syrup (here's why
). Despite the challenges of finding a store-bought formula that doesn't contain any icky additives, the organic varieties far outweigh the conventional ones. Using filtered water will also help minimize contaminants in formula.
While raw, organic whole milk from grass-fed cows has been clouded in controversy, it has a longstanding following in the lactation community. Pasteurized (heat-treated) milk has its fair share of issues when it comes to loss of enzymes, poor vitamin and mineral absorption, allergies and links to illness outbreaks. To avoid using milk altogether, especially if baby is showing early signs of allergies, consider a dairy-free liver-based formula
For an emergency formula - without the raw milk - here's a fortified dairy recipe adapted from the Weston A. Price Foundation