(NaturalNews) When a new mother is eating a balanced diet and providing her body with the proper nutrients, breastfeeding is always the preferred method of nourishment for a baby. Not only does breastfeeding promote bonding between mom and baby, but breast milk also provides babies with immunity from nutrients, enzymes and proteins that are not found in any other food source. However, there are situations when a mother can not breastfeed, whether from medical reasons or by choice. Infant formulas are no match for human breast milk, but they are the alternative. And, there are some methods to boost a baby`s immune system if breastfeeding is not a viable option.
ORGANIC FORMULA Infant formula is made from cow`s milk and contains proteins that are much harder for infants to digest than breast milk. They are also full of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and processed ingredients that further decrease a baby`s ability to digest and often cause colic and reflux. Sadly, most infant formulas use corn syrup as their first ingredient in a failed attempt to match the sugars in breast milk.
Organic infant formulas are free of these additives and many do not use corn syrup or added sugars. While the nutritional content is generally the same across the board, it is important you read the labels to ensure you are getting a quality product for your child.
PROBIOTICS When a baby is born, the passage through the vaginal canal introduces the baby to billions of healthy bacteria, or microflora. It is absorbed by the gut and jump-starts a new baby`s immune system. Colostrum, the gold of breast milk, further builds the intestinal wall with immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, and antibodies. With special sugars only present in breast milk, these nutrients build a protective lining in the intestine, building an immune system.
Babies who are formula-fed should be supplemented with probiotics - naturally found "healthy" bacteria that live in our guts to promote immunity. Babies need this good bacteria to protect themselves from illness. This is especially important in babies born via cesarean, as they do not get the benefit of bacteria from the birth canal.
Probiotics are shown to reduce food allergies, atopic eczema, viruses, fevers, diarrhea and constipation. While many commercial formula manufacturers claim to have probiotics in their product, the amount is minimal at best and mostly a marketing ploy for consumers. It is imperative to find a quality powder probiotic supplement from a reputable health food store or vitamin shop that is formulated for babies and children.
VITAMIN D As much as 60% of babies are found to be deficient in Vitamin D, breastfed and formula-fed. Doctors suggest that babies avoid sunlight, the natural source of Vitamin D, up to 6 months of age. But, they do nothing to advise parents on replenishing these lost stores.
Vitamin D not only improves bone growth and immunity, but it also has been shown to prevent cancer, Type 1 diabetes, allergies and autoimmune disorders. Proper Vitamin D intake has been shown to be as much as 800% more effective than the flu vaccine. The FDA recommends that children under 1 year of age receive 400 international units a day; however, the most benefits are seen from 1000 international units.
If you have tried breastfeeding, received support and are still having difficulty, you must nourish your child. Bottle-feeding does not mean you cherish or love your child any less than their breast-fed peers. And, being proactive about your formula-fed baby`s health, you will enable your baby to establish and maintain a strong immune system.
Bethany Sciortino is a married, stay-at-home mother of three young children. Bethany left her career to aggressively research the cause of and treat her eldest daughter's autism, as well as take care of her growing family. Bethany is an advocate of proper nutrition, natural healing and illness prevention through herbal and vitamin supplementation and dietary intervention not only for her daughter's autism, but for adults and children of all ages. Contact Bethany at firstname.lastname@example.org.