A: TO BABY’S HEALTH…
Breast milk contains immunities to diseases and aids in the development of baby’s immune system
Formula provides neither of these benefits. “Breastfed babies have lower illnesses because human milk transfers to the infant a mother’s antibodies to disease. About 80% of the cells in breast milk are macrophages, cells that kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Breastfed babies are protected in varying degrees from a number of illnesses including pneumonia, botulism, bronchitis, staphylococcal infections, influenza, ear infections, and German measles. Furthermore, mothers produce antibodies to whatever disease is present in their environment, making their milk custom-designed to fight diseases their babies are exposed to as well.”
Breast milk provides perfect infant nutrition
Human milk is uniquely superior for infant feeding and is species-specific; all substitute feeding options differ markedly from it. The breastfed infant is the reference or normative model against which all alternative feeding methods must be measured with regard to growth, health, development, and all other short and long-term benefits.”
Breastfeeding protects babies against diarrheal infectionsNumerous studies have shown that diarrheal infections are much more common in formula-fed babies. This is true throughout the world, despite a common misconception that only people living in areas with contaminated water need be concerned with this issue. Such infections are more likely to be fatal in developing nations, but all formula-fed infants are at greater risk than their breastfed peers.
Breastfeeding protects baby against respiratory infections
Breastfed babies have one-fifth the number of lower respiratory tract infections compared to formula-fed infants.
Breast milk lowers risk of baby developing asthma
Breastfeed babies have lower risk for developing recurrent wheezing when they are older (age 6 or more).
Breastfeeding decreases child’s chances of contracting Hodgkins disease
Hodgkins disease is a type of lymphoma, or cancer of the lymph system. It can develop in children, although it is less likely to do so in children who were breastfed as infants.
Breastfeeding protects baby against bacterial meningitis
Meningitis is an infection which causes the inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a type of bacteria called Hemophilus influenzae type b (HiB). Breastfeeding is protective against infections caused by this bacteria, and the meningitis which may result.
Breastfeeding protects against Crohn’s disease (intestinal disorder)
Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation extending into the deeper layers of the intestinal wall. It is difficult to treat, but several studies have shown that breastfeeding may help babies avoid developing the disease.
Breastfed babies have less chance of developing ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes ulceration and inflammation of the inner lining of the colon and rectum. A number of studies have shown that breastfed babies are less likely to develop this disease.
Breastfeeding prevents and minimizes childhood illnesses
American Academy of Pediatrics states: “Research in the United States, Canada, Europe and other developed countries, among predominantly middle-class populations, provides strong evidence that human milk feeding decreases the incidence and/or severity of diarrhea, lower respiratory infection, otitis, media, bacteremia, bacterial meningitis, botulism, urinary tract infection, and necrotizing enterocolitis…”
“A number of studies… show a possible protective effect of human milk feeding against sudden infant death syndrome, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, lymphoma, allergic diseases, and other chronic digestive diseases. Breastfeeding has also been related to possible enhancement of cognitive development.”
TO BABY’S EMOTIONAL NEEDS…
All babies need to be held. Studies have shown that premature babies are more likely to die if they are not held or stroked. There is no more comforting feeling for an infant of any age than being held close and cuddled while breastfeeding. While many bottle-feeding parents are aware of the importance of cradling their babies while offering the bottle, some are not. Even for parents with good intentions, there is always the temptation to prop up a bottle next to the child, or, when the baby is a little older, to let the child hold his/her own bottle and sit alone. This is emotionally unsatisfying to baby, and can be dangerous physically. An unsupervised child can choke. Also, propping up bottles overnight leads to tooth decay
TO MOTHER’S HEALTH…
Baby’s suckling helps shrink mother’s uterus after childbirth
Nursing will help you to regain your figure more quickly, since the process of lactation causes the uterus (which has increased during pregnancy to about 20 times its normal size) to shrink more quickly to its pregnancy size.
Baby’s suckling helps prevent post-partum hemorrhage in mother
Nursing her baby causes the mother’s body to release oxytocin, which stimulates contractions which help shrink the uterus back to pre-pregnancy size while expelling the placenta. These contractions also shut off the maternal blood vessels that formerly fed the baby and discourage excessive bleeding. Women who choose not to breastfeed must be given synthetic oxytocin to insure against hemorrhaging.
Breastfeeding mothers generally lose weight faster than bottle-feeding moms. “They experience quicker slimming of the abdomen, and decreased risk for developing breast and ovarian caner, as well as osteoporosis.”
Breastfeeding may help stabilize progress of maternal endometriosis
Endometriosis is a disease in which the endometrial tissue in a women’s body begins to form in places other than her uterus, such as on her ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the outer surface of the uterus. This tissue continues to function like uterine tissue would in the uterus, and sheds once a month during the woman’s menstrual cycle. Since there is no vaginal outlet for this blood and tissue, painful complications, including sterility, may result. There is much clinical research showing that pregnancy temporarily stops the progress of this disease. Many women say that the disease also seems to be alleviated by breastfeeding. It certainly makes sense that the delay in the return of a woman’s menstrual cycle would be desirable in preventing the endometriosis from starting up again. Some women even claim a permanent cure. After nursing her children for a total of 27 months, one woman stated, “Even today, my periods are still regular, my ovulation normal and predictable, and I have forgotten that pain, like a fist in the stomach that used to keep me awake at night so often.”
This is true only if the mother is exclusively breastfeeding and has not yet gotten her period back following childbirth. Night nursing encourages longer amenorrhoea (periodlessness).
Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) is the use of breastfeeding as a contraceptive method. It is based on the physiologic effect of suckling to suppress ovulation. To use breastfeeding effectively as a contraceptive requires that the mother either feed the baby nothing but breastmilk or, at the very least, breastfeed for almost all feedings. In addition the baby must be less than 6 months old and the mother’s menses cannot have returned.
TO BABY AND MOTHER’S RELATIONSHIP…
Breastfeeding stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin in the mother’s body. “It is now well established that oxytocin, as well as stimulating uterine contractions and milk ejection, promotes the development of maternal behavior and also bonding between mother and offspring.”
TO THE ENVIRONMENT…
Fewer waste packaging products
No wrappers, canisters, disposable bottles, etc..
“If every child in America were bottle-fed, almost 86,000 tons of tin would be needed to produce 550 million cans for one year’s worth of formula. If every mother in Great Britain breastfed, 3000 tons of paper (used for formula labels) would be saved in a year. But formula is the only problem. Bottles and nipples requires plastic, glass, rubber, and silicon; production of these materials can be resource-intensive and often leads to end-products that are not recyclable. All these products use natural resources, cause pollution in their manufacture and distribution and create trash in their packaging, promotion, and disposal.”
Q: What is exclusive breastfeeding?
A: Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breast milk from his or her mother or a wet nurse, or expressed breast milk, and no other foods or drinks.
Exclusive breastfeeding is the safe, sound, and sustainable way to feed an infant for the first six months of life. WHO and UNICEF recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.
Q: What are the benefits from exclusive breastfeeding?
Breast milk is so much more than mere food. It is a live tissue with many immune factors which gives a baby continuous and active protection against infections, when the baby’s body cannot yet protect itself. For the first few days after birth, a mother provides the ideal immunization for her baby with colostrum which is very rich in antibodies. The amount of colostrum is small, but is exactly what a baby needs at this time. Exclusively breastfed children are much healthier. Artificially fed and mixed-fed infants are sick more often with diarrhea, pneumonia and other infections.
Exclusive breastfeeding is sound…
Breastmilk contains just the right amount of energy, protein, vitamins, and other nutrients for a baby for the first six months of life, and all the water that a baby needs, too. The nutrients are of perfect quality for a baby, and they are more easily and completely digested than any other milk or food. When they are older, breastfed babies are less likely to be overweight than artificially fed babies; they have fewer allergies and higher scores on intelligence tests.
Exclusive breastfeeding is sustainable…
A mother can ensure continuity of good milk from any mixture of foods that she eats, however simple. There is no need to worry about the cost of formula or other milk. The cost of extra food for her is small.
Exclusive breastfeeding is important for the mother too…
Exclusive breastfeeding can prevent a new pregnancy in the first six months, provided her period has not started again, and it can help her to lose any extra weight that she gained in pregnancy. She has less risk of cancer of the breast and ovary, and possibly of osteoporosis.
Q: What is the recommended duration of exclusive breastfeeding?
A: 6 months is the recommended duration of exclusive breastfeeding by WHO and UNICEF for optimal infant growth, development and health.
Q: How many deaths are estimated due to inappropriate infant feeding practices including infant formula in the Philippines?
A: 16,000 deaths.
A: Yes. Formula-fed infants and children have:- 1.2 million more illness episodes- 10 million more days ill- 450,000 more health facility visits- 36,000 more infants hospitalized
Formula-fed infants under 6 months of age are sick twice as often, stay sick 50% longer, and spend 3 times the number of days ill as those breastfed.
Of the first 180 days of life, exclusively breastfed children are sick 2.9% from acute respiratory infection (ARI) and 0.7% from diarrhea. Combined, they are sick 3.7% (or 6.6 days)
Of the first 180 days of life, formula fed children are sick from ARI 7.1% and from diarrhea 3.3%. Combined, they are sick 10.4% (or 18 days)
Therefore, during the first 180 days of life, formula fed children are ill 6.7% more time (or 11.4 days)
Formula fed children spend 3 times the number of days ill with just these two illnesses.
During the first 180 days of life, 20.0% of exclusively breastfed children have, on average, either ARI or diarrhea per month. Multiply by 6 to get the average number of episodes per child over the first 6 months.
During the first 180 days of life, 44.9% of formula fed children have, on average, either ARI or diarrhea per month. Multiply by 6 to get the average number of episodes per child over the first 6 months.
Therefore, during the first 180 days of life, formula fed children have twice the number of episodes of illness with either ARI or diarrhea.
Conclusion: Formula fed infants under 6 months of age are sick twice as often, stay sick 50% longer, and spend 3 times the number of days ill as those breastfed.
Note: There are other studies demonstrating the same point; even in the US.
Q: How much is the cost of mother’s milk?
A: Human breast milk is free food that is nutritionally superior to any other.
Q: What is the average monthly cost of formula-feeding one infant?
A: Formula-feeding costs an average of P4,000 a month per infant. To save on costs, some families over-dilute the formula or use other kinds of milk –including condensed milk – leading to malnutrition, illness and death.
Q: Considering that there are 16,000 deaths due to formula feeding and other inappropriate infant feeding, how much is the funeral cost?
A: Funeral costs associated with the 16,000 child deaths due to formula-feeding and other inappropriate infant feeding habits totals P536 M a year.
Q: Considering the fact that bottle-fed infants are more sickly than breastfed ones, what is the opportunity cost of parents who miss their working days just to attend to their sick children?
A: Parents who bottle-feed their infants miss more working days, resulting in loss of income and productivity. WHO estimates that the total lost wages due to tending formula-fed children for diarrhea and acute respiratory infections during the first six months of life is P1B. (this amount just refers to the opportunity cost, but does not include hospitalization and other medical expenses)
Q: Considering the fact that bottle-fed infants are more commonly infected with Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) compared to breastfed infants, what is the cost of treatment and hospitalization for ARI caused by formula-feeding?
A: Families that use infant formula have to spend more for doctor’s consultations, medicines and hospitalization. WHO estimates that the cost of out-patient treatment for acute respiratory infections caused by formula feeding totals P55.7 M per year, while hospitalization costs total P26 M per year.
Q: What are the economic implications of having formula-fed infants spending more illness episodes (in terms of the number of times an illness occurs), more days ill (i.e. duration of illness), more health facility visits, and more hospitalizations due to ARI and diarrhea?
A: – Php 500 M on funeral expenses
– Php 1B in lost wages caring for sick infants
– Php 100M on out of pocket expenditure for health facility visits and basic drugs
– Php 50M out of pocket expenditure for hospitalizing their infants
– Php 230M government expenditure on hospitalization.
Q: How much do Filipinos spend to formula-feed their infants every year?
A: WHO estimates that Filipinos spend P 43 B a year to formula-feed their infants.
Q: How much does the Philippines spend for milk imports?
A: Because of limited milk production in the Philippines, the country relies on milk imports to provide breastmilk substitutes. According to NEDA, the country spent P20.5 billion (US $381 million) on milk imports in January to November 2004.