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Last week on face book, I posted regarding my frustration about a formula pamphlet I found. The pamphlet was put out by a formula company and had been left in the NICU where I work, along with a sample bottle of formula. I found the pamphlet offensive because it compared breast milk and formula in regards to such things as intact proteins and DHA/ARA content. Of course, the formula was touted as being superior because the proteins it contained were partially broken-down (cow's milk protein, I might add) and breast milk's proteins were intact. The DHA/ARA content of the formula was slightly higher than the breast milk.
In regards to point one: Comparing breast milk proteins to factory or laboratory broken-down cow's milk formula proteins is an apples to oranges comparison. It seems obvious that breaking down cow's milk proteins (intended for baby cows, not baby infants) is theoretically a better idea than utilizing completely intact cow's milk proteins.
In regards to the second point comparing DHA/ARA content: Who cares if the formula has an infentesimal amount more than breast milk? Breast milk's content is tailed to the specific needs of each baby-made to suit the infant or child perfectly. Quite a different case from the algae or fish-derived DHA/ARA contained in formula. And, who's to say that a tiny amount more DHA/ARA makes this cow's milk-derived, partially broken-down protein formula superior to human milk?
Can you tell that this formula pamphlet frustrated me? I posted about this on face book and said nothing more than that, that the comparisons frustrated me when the attempt was made to make breast milk look inferior to a formula. A friend became very defensive and stated that perhaps the point was to lessen the guilt a mother feels when she is unable to or chooses not to nurse. She said that she had found breastfeeding very difficult and had quit after two and four months with her sons. Further, she stated that she wishes it were "as easy for her as some moms make it look." Because I care about my friend and saw no point to offending her, I refrained comment. However, truth be told, I have not found breastfeeding to be easy. Not with this baby, not with my previous two. I nursed the previous two to at least a year and plan to do the same with Sammy. But, here's what I've dealt with just with this baby: recurrent plugs up until he was 7 months old-some times as many as a plug each week. Mastitis, not once but twice. Food intolerances-I have not been able to eat milk, soy, egg, or nuts for most of the time I have nursed him. Low supply-I have struggled to make enough milk when I pump away from my baby. While I may not have true low supply, I do not respond well to the pump. This means I have to pump very often, take herbs to boost supply, and be sure to drink adequate water. None of this has been particularly easy. Here's what I have to say about it, though. It's worth it! I love my baby more than anything. This year or so of nursing him is only the beginning of the sacrifices I will make for him because he is my child and I value him above all else. No matter how much the formula companies would have us believe that they can come close with claims such as "Our closest formula to breast milk," they have and will continue to fall far short. Breast milk-nature's perfect and intended food for human infants.
An exerpt from the Journal of Human Lactation:
BREAST MILK CONTAINS
more than 190 different fatty acids
not just DHA and ARA
that work together to boost your baby’s
that help your baby digest your milk.
•growth factors and hormones
that help your baby
grow and develop properlyspecific antibodies
against germs that you’ve been exposed to, so your baby is protected against them.