Infant nutrition is critical for ensuring proper development, maximizing learning capacities and preventing illness. At no other time in life is nutrition so important. In a perfect world, with perfect nutrition, every woman would breastfeed. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. What about low milk supply, an unwell mother or adoption? Luckily, it is possible to make a wholesome whole food baby formula.
Numerous studies support the benefits of breastfeeding. For example, breastfed babies tend to be more robust, intelligent and free of allergies and other complaints like intestinal difficulties.1 Other studies have shown that breastfed infants have reduced rates of respiratory illnesses and ear infections.2,3 Some researchers believe breastfed infants have greater academic potential than formula-fed infants, which is thought to be due to the fatty acid DHA found in mother’s milk and not in most US formulas. 4
However, other studies show the opposite. In 2001, a study found breastfed children had more asthma than bottle-fed.5 A Swedish study found that breastfed infants were just as likely to develop childhood ear infections 6 and childhood cancer as formula-fed babies.7
So, what is best for baby? It comes down to nutrition! Hands down, healthy breast milk is perfectly designed for baby’s physical and mental development, but this is only true when mom supplies her body with the right nutrients.
The typical modern diet is filled with products based on sugar, white flour, additives and commercial fats and oils, which do not nourish and build. The proper nutrients are necessary to create breast milk that will provide all a growing baby needs. These include good quality proteins from foods such as grass-fed meats and organ meats, good quality fats from butter, coconut oil, olive oil, cod liver oil and egg yolks, as well as complex carbohydrate-rich foods like vegetables, whole grains and legumes–think whole food, natural and seasonal, with a big emphasis on healthy fat.
Bottom line, in a perfect world, with perfect nutrition, every woman would breastfeed. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. What about low milk supply, an unwell mother or adoption? Luckily, it is possible to make a wholesome whole food baby formula. (See FAQs on Homemade Baby Formula.)
What about introducing nourishing foods AFTER the bottle??
Read more about nourishing foods for your growing child at:
- Fallon, Sally. Nourishing Traditions. NewTrends Publishing. 1999
- Wilson AC, Forsyth JS, Creene SA, et al. Relation of infant diet to childhood health: seven year follow up of cohort children in Dundee infant feeding study. British Medical Journal, 1998; 316:21-5.
- Scariati PD. A longitudinal analysis of infant mortality and the extent of breast-feeding in the US. Pediatrics. 1997;99:5-12.
- Pediatrics 1998;101(1):37985
- Y Takemura and others. Relaton between Breastfeeding and the Prevalence of Asthma: The Tokorozawa Childhood Asthma and Pollinosis Study. American Journal of Epidemiology. July 2001;154(2):11509
- K W Wefring and others. Nasal congestion and earache – upper respiratory tract infections in 4-year-old children. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. April 30, 2001;121(11):1329-32
- I Hardell and A C Dreifaldt. Breastfeeding duration and the risk of malignant diseases in childhood in Sweden. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. March 2001;55(3):179-85
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2005.