It’s not just the adults who are spoilt for choice in food matters. There are plenty of options for baby food too—mother’s milk, formula milk, forti?ed cereals, organic baby food, etc.
Doctors across the world agree that breast milk is the most complete and perfect food for infants. Dr. Sanjiv Mehta, neonatologist, pediatrician, adolescent health specialist, and senior consultant, Max Balaji Hospital, Delhi, says, “Mother’s milk is natural, so there’s no fear of contamination or adulteration. It is also the purest baby food, which is why stomach upsets and infections of the respiratory tract are less common among breastfed children. But more importantly, it contains antibodies and proteins that strengthen the baby’s immune system, which no other food can do.”
Research has proven breast milk is the best food for baby:
- A study published in Lancet, 1995 found “breastfeeding as prophylactic (preventive) against atopic diseases, such as atopic eczema, food allergy, and respiratory allergy.”
- Another study in the November, 2001 issue of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine concluded that breastfeeding helps decrease infant’s chances of developing asthma.
- According to the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, breastfed babies are 20% less likely to be overweight than babies who have not had breast milk.
- Breast milk is a complete and balanced meal in itself, with little need for any additional nutritional supplement. Therefore, the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Indian Pediatric Association recommend babies to be exclusively breastfed for the ?rst six months.
In contrast, formula milk is “made up of complex proteins that are harder for the infant’s metabolic system to break down and assimilate, causing constipation and gastric problems,” explains Dr. Mehta
While making a food choice for your baby, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the food giving all the vital nutrients and calories that the baby needs?
- Is the food easily digestible by the baby?
- Is there any fear of allergies being caused by the food?
- Is the food free of synthetic and chemical substances?
You’ll be delighted to know that one food that ful?lls all these criteria is mother’s milk. Hence, as long as you are able to provide your little one with this source of nutrition, you may be rest assured that your newborn’s health and development is being taken care of in all aspects.