You need only to ask a handful of doctors or mothers, and you will likely hear either one of two opinions in regard to feeding an infant; and it is a thin line drawn in the sand between breast-feeding and formula.
Some argue that since it comes from the mother, it must be better, while others argue that children receive all the same goodness from formula, and it is easier. While many mothers will choose one way over the other, for some the choice isn’t theirs to make, and for a multitude of reasons, they might not produce enough milk. But is that to say the child might potentially be missing out on something vital? A recent study coming out of the United Kingdom suggest yes.
A sugar found in breast milk has been found to protect newborns against a deadly bug. This naturally-occurring compound wards of group B streptococcal infection this new research suggests.
This infection, also known as GBS, is one of the most common life-threatening infections in reborn babies across the world, causing meningitis, blood poisoning and pneumonia. In the UK, this illness claims the life of one infant a week, and leaves many more with long-term disabilities.
The big problem lies in the fact that many pregnant women naturally carry the bug and the number of infections found in babies is seemingly on the rise. And as of yet, doctors aren’t exactly sure why some newborns get sick while others remain perfect healthy.
According to lead research, Dr. Nicholas Andreas, ‘Although this is early-stage research it demonstrates the complexity of breast milk, and the benefits it may have for the baby.
‘Increasingly, research is suggesting these breast milk sugars may protect against infections in the newborn, as well as boosting a child’s “friendly’ gut bacteria.’
This sugar is also believed to act as a ‘decoy,’ which fools the bacteria into thinking it is a type of human cell that can be invaded, and when the bacteria latch onto the sugar, it neutralizes, eventually to be harmless excreted by the body.
On a positive note, It may also be possible to add the ‘right’ sugars to formula milk; however, Dr Andreas said it could be hard to get the recipe right.
What this means is that there is hard evidence coming out that really supports the team in for of breast feeding, and while it may not be an option for some, whenever possible, it is always best to do what is right by the child; however inconvenient it may be.