In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illness.
Undoubtedly, “breast is best” – and not just because it is both free AND natural. In addition to being both of these, breast milk is also the best choice for new moms and their babies because of the difference breastfeeding can make to the overall health and functioning of the immune system. While there is still a need for research and additional evidence in favor of the connection between breastfeeding and the health of the immune system, there is an undeniable indication that breast milk will outperform formula every time.
One of the most immediate immunological benefits of breast milk stems from powerful antibodies that babies are born with (thanks to their mother’s natural immune system). In order for babies to maintain or increase their antibody storehouse, they need access to their mother’s undiluted and un-supplemented breast milk – not formula alternatives. These antibodies largely protect against diarrhea causing pathogens that can quickly dehydrate babies beyond the danger zone. Additional protection is also offered against certain respiratory and gastrointestinal ailments.
Clinically, breast milk has shown itself to inhibit the growth of certain strains of bacteria at the molecular level, fighting off attacks and infections with a fiercely territorial immune response, quite powerful for such a seemingly weak creature wholly unable to care for itself. Upon closer examination and further investigation, it was discovered that certain complex sugars, which are much fewer and farther between in cow’s milk derived formulas and milks, are highly concentrated in breast milk and offer a defensive decoy capability that tricks microbes into attacking fake targets and shields the actual intended targets.