Replacing breast milk with formula is damaging the baby’s health. According to studies, formula milk increases the infant’s chance of developing overweight, obesity and other diseases. In this context, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI), 35.2% of girls and boys under six months of age were deprived of breastfeeding during 2020.
In that sense, more than 30% of infants in 2020 have the short-term consequences of contracting respiratory infections and, in the long term, a greater probability of suffering from asthma, allergies, obesity or even diabetes. It is important to identify that the composition of formula milk or even animal milk has a high caloric content, that is, they are high in sugars and fats.
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Another reason for childhood obesity is consumption of ultra-processed foods during the 6 to 23 month stage, when the child begins to stop exclusive breastfeeding and begins consuming semi-solid and solid foods.
“Misinformation by health personnel and misleading advertising has led to believe that breast milk substitutes are better when looking at the nutrients and properties they offer and unfortunately breast milk does not come with as much publicity. Health personnel must always emphasize that the best food for a newborn is breast milk and this is thanks to the years of evolution that allowed it to be perfected and adapted to the needs of the infant.”Said Alejandro Vargas, nutrition specialist at the NGO Action Against Hunger Peru.
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Among the main benefits of breast milk to avoid diseases, such as being overweight or obese, strengthens immunity against diseases because it contains the right proportions of nutrients for newborns. Another important point is that colostrum or first milk which is a yellowish liquid contains immunoglobulins (antibodies) and proteins that help strengthen the immune system and the generation of intestinal microflora.
It should be noted that it is advisable to continue giving breastfeeding up to two years of age because although milk no longer covers one hundred percent of the infant’s nutritional needs it is still an important source of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.