For busy moms and moms-to-be, baby formula may seem like a convenient alternative to breastfeeding or perhaps, for health reasons, it is your only alternative. It's not uncommon to hear that formulas are good substitutes for actual mother's milk...but is it true?
Bottle-fed babies who drink formula instead of mother's milk are more likely to die in infancy and childhood! Breast milk is the best milk for building a healthy inner ecosystem and immunity.
If you're wondering if, or already decided that, breastfeeding your baby is not right for you, be sure you know about the serious disadvantages to giving your baby infant formula discussed below. And if you know a woman who is pregnant or ever intends to have a baby, PLEASE pass this crucial article on to them to read.
For starters, realize that babies fed infant formula:
- Suffer more from diarrhea, ear infections, and are more likely to die in infancy and childhood.
- Have lower IQs than breastfed babies.
- May be at a greater risk for diabetes and Parkinson's disease later in life.
- Lack beneficial bacteria in their intestines to help them digest food and fight germs.
- Do not develop antibodies when they and their mothers are exposed to common viruses.
A Dangerous Formula
Baby formula manufacturers would like moms to believe that their products are viable alternatives for infant nutrition, but formulas of all kinds are inherently very different from breast milk. Man-made formulas will never be able to duplicate the complex nutrients and the synergy of these nutrients as they work together to nourish your baby. For humans to even hope we can duplicate this amazing first food is extremely arrogant.
Infant formulas are derived from cow's milk or soy milk, not human milk. The protein in cow's milk and soy milk is not only different from human breast milk, but there is actually much less protein in human milk. Also, these proteins are digested at different rates in the digestive tract.
Frequently, the undigested proteins from cow and soy milks pass through a baby's stomach into his intestines where they can cause allergies and even lead to asthma. For more on the risks of soy, read Soy Lecithin: The Risks if You Choose the Wrong Type, the Benefits if You Choose Right.
Additionally, many infant formulas are powdered and need to be reconstituted with water, so whatever toxins that are present in your water supply will also be poisoning your baby, unless you use filtered water. Most local water supplies contain chlorine, heavy metals (like lead, bacteria, fluoride), and other toxins. In fact, research is now reporting that formula-fed babies consume dangerous quantities of fluoride, lead, and chlorine because they drink formula made from tap water.
Perhaps just as frightening is the fact that formulas themselves are often contaminated during manufacturing. Between 1982 and 1994, there were 22 recalls of infant formula in the US because of health and safety issues.
For these reasons alone, commercial baby formulas are not healthy alternatives to breast milk. But another significant importance of breastfeeding becomes even more clear as you understand the crucial role breast milk plays in establishing the health and immunity of your newborn
Breast Milk Builds Your Baby's Inner Ecosystem
Think of a newborn baby's digestive system as if it were a "blank slate". The baby does not yet have the inner ecosystem that will eventually develop inside his/her intestines creating the immune system.
When the baby moves from the somewhat protected region of his mother's womb and out into the world, he suddenly encounters all kinds of organisms and bacteria, both good and bad. Because he initially lacks the beneficial microflora needed to resist potential pathogens in his environment, nature has a brilliant arrangement to protect the tiny being. All newborns are born with a permeable "leaky" gut allowing them to immediately absorb greater amounts of nutrients from their mother's colostrum, or "first milk." Colostrum delivers powerful nutrients and immune boosting substances like lactoferrin, immunoglobulins, sugars and antibodies to each tiny fragile body.
The baby's permeable gut lining quickly absorbs the nutrients from the colostrum and boosts his immunity, protecting him until a vibrant inner ecosystem can be established. A healthy inner ecosystem (for people of all ages!) is made up of the friendly microflora (beneficial bacteria and yeast) that reside in our intestines and keep us healthy and strong. It will take about three months for the newborn's inner ecosystem to be fully formed, but it starts developing immediately. Both colostrum and mother's milk plays a vital role in establishing this inner ecosystem..
As the first few days go by, a protective mucous barrier begins to form on the baby's gut lining. This layer of clean, pure mucous must be established so that the beneficial microflora have a place to nestle into. There they will grow and multiply…but only if they are properly fed.
The initial supply of colostrum is replaced by breast milk over the first several days Both colostrum and mother's milk are rich in special "essential" sugars that will be feeding the beneficial bacteria and good yeast in the gut to help them grow and multiply.
The manufacturers of baby formula cannot even come close to duplicating this amazing process, and it is quite surprising to me that they don't' even try.
It is important to note, though, that If a baby's mother doesn't have plenty of microflora in her own colon and birth canal, she won't be able to pass on this critical healthy microflora to her baby. In a nutshell, if a mother gives her newborn baby formula instead of her own milk, then her baby misses out on all the healthy bacteria and antibodies of breast milk.
(Be sure to read "Why We Are ALL Born With A Leaky Gut" for more on your inner ecosystem )
Breast Milk is the Best Milk
Besides helping to create a healthy inner ecosystem, researchers estimate that breast milk has at least 100 different components that effect a baby's development, and they continue to make new discoveries about what exactly these components do.
What they do know is that human breast milk contains living cells, hormones, active enzymes, and immunoglobulins that formulas will never be able to replicate. In particular:
- Immunoglobulins are also known as "protective antibodies" that are large Y shaped proteins that allow the immune system to bind to infected cells and to neutralize foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. Immunoglobulins have a memory and can remember the foreign intruder during future exposure.
- Lactoferrin is an iron-binding protein that is in many ways a "miracle" anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-cancer substance. It is found in both cow and human milk but not soy milk. However, cow's milk has only trace amounts (.05% - 1%) while human milk will contain much more (at least 15%).
- Especially important in the health and function of the intestinal tract, it helps reduce intestinal inflammation.
- An overgrowth of pathogenic microorganisms is a common problem in children with autism. The autistic children I have worked and who are now following the BEDROK Program (Body Ecology Recovering Our Kids) were fed soy formula.
- An overgrowth of pathogens from birth and even when the baby was in the womb is known to causing imbalances throughout the entire body even the brain.
- Lactoferrin enhances the growth of the "good microflora in the colon because of its probiotic properties.
- Fatty acids found in breast milk are very different than those found in formulas. Breast milk has over 50% of its calories as fat. A large amount of this fat is saturated. Formulas are low in saturated fat and soy milk has none. The DHA found in breast milk and not formula has been shown to give the breast-fed baby a greater academic potential. Of course to give her baby these good fats, a mother must also eat these fats herself.
- Enzymes are destroyed by pasteurization and are deficient in most formulas.
Overall, breast fed babies are typically healthier, happier, and even smarter. If they have higher levels of good bacteria in their guts they are more likely to survive and even thrive through infancy and childhood. This is even truer if the mother is eating fermented foods and drinking fermented liquids like we recommend on The Body Ecology Diet.
Body Ecology and Your Baby
Don't forget that the mother's health is the most important part of healthy breastfeeding. Everything a mother eats or comes into contact with effects her baby.
Current moms and moms-to-be (and dads too!) can take an active role in promoting the health of their current and future children by following the Body Ecology program for 6 months to 2 years prior to conception, and especially during breastfeeding.
This ensures that you build and maintain a healthy inner ecosystem of your own so that you can pass on health and immunity (instead of illness and infection) to your newborn child during gestation and after he is born.
Read What Every Girl and Woman Needs to Know NOW if They Ever Want to Have a Baby to learn more about how Body Ecology can help you prepare for the healthiest pregnancy possible.
Solutions for Allergies to Breast Milk
Some mothers are being told by their pediatrician that their babies are "allergic" to breast milk. Is this possible? Would Nature make such a mistake? We strongly believe that the baby is simply not "digesting" his mother's milk. His digestive tract is not working at all because it lacks beneficial microflora to digest the milk. This problem can be easily corrected by putting tiny spoonfuls of juice from cultured veggies or Coco-Biotic or BE Wholegrain or Young Coconut Kefir into the babies mouth several times a day.
Introducing your baby to fermented drinks is a smart move. You can try making your own young coconut kefir or try this convenient, economical and good-tasting Coco-Bioticfermented liquid.
The Body Ecology system of health and healing is excellent for both mothers and babies. Following Body Ecology's antifungal diet with its seven principles and delicious fermented foods encourages the growth of good bacteria in mother and child at the same time that it starves the growth of bad bacteria, yeast and fungi that cause illness.
The cornerstone of the Body Ecology diet is fermented foods and drinks. Full of probiotics and prebiotics(beneficial microflora), fermented foods and drinks help you and your baby digest food, absorb more nutrients and establish immune fighting healthy bacteria in your gut.
The Russians have long known about the health benefits of fermented drinks. For generations now they have been giving babies (as young as 4 months old) fermented milk kefir diluted with water.
You can introduce your baby to fermented foods and drinks too. Gradually incorporate the somewhat sour taste of fermented foods and drinks and your little one will soon become a great fan of them. Some key steps to do this:
- Start babies with a teaspoon of cultured vegetable juice; don't be surprised when they make a funny face when first tasting the sour flavor of the cultured vegetables.
- Dilute fermented drinks with filtered water for your baby. Try tiny spoonfuls of Young Coconut Kefir, Coco-Biotic, or Liquid Spirulina.
- Once your baby is old enough, make your own baby food by pureeing vegetables and fruits. In my opinion a baby's first food should be his own mother's milk; his second food should be fermented pureed vegetables These can be made by finely pureeing organic vegetables and then fermenting them -- just as you would cultured veggies for an adult-- using our Body Ecology Culture Starter.
- Keep in mind too that babies who eat sour foods don't develop a desire for sweet sugary desserts. I believe that later in life they are much less likely to be drawn to alcohol and drugs as teens and adult.
- Softly cooked egg yolks provide trace nutrients and great fats that help promote development of the brain. Do not feed your baby the egg whites. Eggs yolks should be the first animal protein that you introduce. For many babies this may be all the animal protein needed until they become much more active and are walking and running.
- Animal protein foods like chicken and beef can be added at about nine months if they are finely pureed. Introduce organic chicken or liver "pate" or pureed rare beef slowly at first so that the microflora in his/her gut can adjust to this new food. Only small amounts will be needed, so follow the 80 - 20 rule where 80% of the meal is alkaline forming vegetables and ocean veggies and only 20% animal protein.
- Babies can truly benefit from small amounts of ghee also known as "clarified butter" (clarified of the solid milk particles). It and raw butter both contain important fat for your baby's developing brain. Other fats like tiny spoonfuls of fish, cod liver, olive oil and flaxseed oil are also good for your little one. The digestive tract, which is still developing, also benefits from these healthy fats.
Breastfeeding is far superior to baby formula IF the mother supplies her own body with the right nutrients. For a variety of reasons not all woman can nurse. They should never feel guilty or inferior. The human body is a remarkable creation. The Weston A. Price Foundation has published wonderful formulas that can be prepared right at home that more closely duplicate mother's milk. You can contact them at [email protected] for more information.
The nutrition of both parents is vital to creating a healthy, bright and happy baby. This is the birthright of every child. Every child also needs to have a strong, abundant inner ecosystem. The Body Ecology system of health and healing provides a delicious and nutritious way to build the health and immunity of millions of children for generations to come.
- Allergies and Baby Formula, DrGreene.org. http://www.drgreene.org/body.cfm?id=21&action=detail&ref=81
- An Exciting Breakthrough In Infant Formula, DrGreene.org. http://www.drgreene.com/21_797.html
- Contaminants in Infant Formula, Naba-Breastfeeding.org. http://www.naba-breastfeeding.org/images/Contaminants.pdf
- FDA Recalls of Baby Formula, Breastfeeding.com. http://www.breastfeeding.com/advocacy/advocacy_recalls.html
- Flouride Warnings for Infants, FlourideAlert.org, http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/infant/
- Granju, Katie Allison, Formula For Disaster, Salon.com. http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/1999/07/19/formula/index.html
- Infant Formula Increases Diabetes Risk, Life Sciences, July 2000; 66:1501-7.
- Mozes, Alan, Iron in Infant Formula May Raise Adult Parkinson's Risk, HealthFinder.gov, http://www.healthfinder.gov/news/newsstory.asp?docID=533286
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