Need I say it? Breast milk is best. Always! Unless there is an inborn error of metabolism or congenital lactose intolerance...breast milk will always be best! The benefits are huge ranging from better cognitive function, improved immunity and decreased risk of food allergies.
Breast milk contains over 300 components...formula milk is sitting at around 80 odd. We just cant replicate breast milk. And your breast milk is specific to your baby. A boy's breast milk is different to a girls breast milk and the composition of your milk changes with time. For example, Tryptophan = Increased melatonin and serotonin = better sleep...this hormone doubles at night in breast milk!! Wow!
But there are reasons why you may not be able to breastfeed or why you choose not too...that's ok! We see so many mums getting really down and stressed out under the pressure to breastfeed. Seek help as (and I vouch for it!!) it does not come naturally. If you can get it right it's an absolute triumph - from a financial and convenience point of view too! But if you do decide to give it up then your baby will need a formula.
Standing in that supermarket aisle deciding how best to nourish your baby is daunting! Soooooo many choices! So here is a little summary of a few of your choices...
1. Standard formulas
These will suit most babies and all of them meet a minimum requirement. Some contain pre/probiotics which is nice but the evidence around which probiotic and in what amount is not quite there.
2. Standard formulas containing HMOs (Human milk oligosacharides).
This is fairly new to the market and promising. HMOs are non digestible carbohydrates found in breast milk. They play a role in the immune system. Interestingly not all mums are secretors of HMOs but when they are, breasmilk contains over 200 HMOs. This formula contains 2 (two). And they come with a price tag! Watch this space!!