Time and again claims have been made that modern formulas are almost the same as breast milk and hence can match breast milk in terms of providing nutritional benefits to babies. The benefits of bottle feeding are also highlighted whenever and wherever possible.
But the answer to the query – are formulas similar to breast milk – is in the negative. Breast milk is naturally produced while formula milk is artificially produced and can never be an exact copy of the naturally produced milk of the mom. Let’s find out some of the basic differences between breast milk and formula milk.
First, although formula milk are specially formulated with all essential nutrients required by the baby, they do not contain antibodies, hormones, enzymes or living cells which are present in breast milk. It is true that formulas have higher content of protein, iron, calcium, manganese, and aluminum than breast milk.
But these nutrients are not completely absorbed by the baby. Moreover, since formulas are usually made from cow’s milk, they are not as easily digestible as mother’s milk. Moreover, the nutrients in breast milks are completely absorbed by the baby.
Again, breast milk is composes of numerous nutrients which are produced in the quantity required by the baby. Formulas cannot copy all these nutrients. Moreover, breast milk is custom made for the baby. It changes from time to time and as per the requirement of the baby while formula milk continues to remain the same. And the most glaring example of this fact is the production of colostrum – a liquid which is produced by the breasts weeks before delivery and is fed to the newborn.
The colostrum is thicker than breast milk and is yellowish in color. It is rich in nutrients and has higher concentration of antibodies. So if you are bottle feeding right away, your baby has missed something really important. And as babies grow, breast milk also changes to suit the custom requirement of each baby. Formula milk remains the same and hence is not suited for all babies.
The conclusion is that though there have been advancements in the formula milk industry, breast milk still is far from being replicated and remains the best milk for your baby.