Nature provides us with everything which we need to live. Nature knows best. It has billions of years of evolution to back up it’s creations. Man-made substitutes don’t measure up to what nature can provide. Which is why breast milk is the perfect and best food for babies. Breast milk protects babies from disease and strengthens their immune systems – something which cannot be provided by any formula.
To put it into perspective, below is a table showing the number of ingredients in both breast milk and formula:
This list was compiled as a student project for the Breastfeeding Course For Health Care Providers, Canada.
‘Nuff said. Well, almost. Breast milk is also fresh food, consisting of living nutrients. Formula is comparable to an adult living off of canned and processed powdered food fortified with synthetic vitamins…it just cannot compare to fresh living food. Formula is not “as good as” breast milk. And not to forget about another fact which makes cow milk formulas not “as good as” breast milk…cow milk is intended for calves. Each animal makes species-specific milk, intended to ensure the optimal growth of it’s own infant.
That being said, there are rare instances where a mum for some reason is not able to provide her baby with breast milk, however even then milk donated from other mums is the best alternative (for example from milk banks). But that’s seldom an option for many people. Another option, before resorting to formula, is making your own homemade formula using goat milk as the base ingredient (goat milk being more easily digestible than cow’s milk). An example of homemade goat milk formula can be found here.
But there are non-milk options for home made formula as well, based on bone broth, such as this bone broth formula. This is an option for when there is the problem of cow and goat milk allergy. Bone broth is actually really healthy, particularly for gut health due to the gelatin content, which is helpful in overcoming things like food allergies and asthma and in promoting the growth of good bacteria in the gut. And a healthy gut is the first step to a healthy immune system.
Soy formula seems to be the least desirable of the lot. This is mostly due to the hormone-disrupting phytoestrogens (isoflavones) present in soy, which could disrupt a baby’s hormonal system for life.
Once one has to find a substitute to what nature has provided, things become a bit more complicated, and many factors have to be taken into account to decide what will be a suitable breast milk replacement for each particular baby.
An interesting read on the contents of breast milk can be found on Primal Bliss.