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Baby formula

baby formula

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The debate over baby formula versus natural feeding has raged since 1867, when Henri Nestle invented a nourishing and fortified powder for infants whose mothers were unable to breastfeed.

The discussion is usually focused on the nutritional benefits and well-being aspect – breastfeeding protects your child from diseases and infections, it’s available wherever and whenever your baby needs a feed, it strengthens the bond between mother and baby, and it protects a child from diseases in later life, such as eczema, type II diabetes, and gastroenteritis.

Baby formula can be convenient

The convenience of baby formula makes it attractive – with today’s busy lifestyles, who wants to spend hours each day sat on the sofa, expressing milk? Also, it’s easier to whip a bottle out in public, and anyone can feed your child, which makes it easier for dad and other relatives to help out.

baby formula

Help! How do I choose?

If you are in two minds over which to choose, then here is another factor when considering whether breast is best: the high cost of baby formula. One tin may not be that expensive, at around £10 for a week’s supply, but multiply that by 52 weeks, which is the recommended weaning age, and you will soon see how using formula can suck a hole in your bank account like a hungry child.

And here’s another sobering thought – the cost of raising a child to the age of 21, from cradle to college, has soared 58% in 10 years to a gargantuan £222,460. If you are a cost-conscious parent, you will be trying to save cash in every way possible, and canning the baby formula could be one of the biggest one-off savings you could make.

But it’s not just your personal piggy bank that will benefit from breastfeeding – the overall health of the nation will improve, and the NHS will inevitably benefit from the milk of human kindness too.

Is it healthy to use formula?

Breastfeeding mothers and their babies reduce their risk of certain illnesses – in 1995, babies with gastroenteritis, a common illness in formula-fed babies, cost the NHS in England and Wales an estimated £35 million. For every 1% increase in breastfeeding mothers, an estimated £500,000 could be saved. The cost of purchasing formula, bottles, teats and sterilising equipment also puts a strain on an already-beleaguered NHS.

There are also numerous misconceptions related to breastfeeding, many which are inaccurate, or out of date.

Some mothers believe it will make their breasts saggy, but it’s actually age that causes them to head south, along with weight fluctuations.

And as for feeding your child in public – the only people who seem concerned about this are Daily Mail journalists – a survey showed the majority of people don’t mind  breastfeeding in public whatsoever. And of course, the more it is done, the more normal it will become.

Almost all women are physically able to breastfeed – you may find it difficult at first, but with practice, it becomes easy. Nearly all females can produce the amount of milk a baby needs – stick at it and you’ll soon have a very satisfied infant giggling in your lap.

If you have a valid medical reason for not breastfeeding, such as HIV, or you’re on a medication, formula is of course, the sensible option.

But if you’re able to produce healthy milk, and you want to save cash, both for yourself and the NHS, then breastfeeding is the sensible option, and it’s only getting more popular. As of 2013, 80% of UK women chose to breastfeed for at least the first 13 weeks.  Will you become one of the growing army?



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