Nature’s principles of breast feeding is simple, subtle, non violent and custom made for each baby.
A body that is capable of growing a life inside and forming organs from a single cell is also capable of producing nourishment for it for 5 years. We wean them of breast milk very very prematurely)
A baby’s gut is designed to digest only breast milk and any other supplements before 6 months is a huge strain on their bodies. There is no other replacement for breast milk and breast feeding in nature. The second closest is the breast milk from another mother.
We have seen mothers who never lactated at all. This could arise from misunderstanding of their own bodies, not allowing the baby to suck on the breast or not having enough support from family.
Breast feeding works on demand and supply like for any mammal. The more they suck the more milk the mothers make. If we supplement with formula, the baby stops coming to the breast for food and so the mothers body assumes that the demand is low and gradually stops making milk. This is how the supply stops in mothers. We supplement assuming there is low milk supply but we fall into a trap for supplements.
There are many disadvantages if babies are given bottles. Their mouth develops differently, this affects their breathing, their oral development, their throat, their ENT passage and in turn, their health in the long term. Snoring, sleep apnea, sinus and compromised posture are some long term effects.
Also breast feeding is not just about the milk. It is about physical and psychological development of babies too.
Another beautiful aspect of breast feeding is to understand how child’s body communicates with mother’s body. It is called the endo mamary pathway. Child’s saliva carries enzymes based on the body’s need at that particular time. So when child’s mouth comes in contact with mother’s nipple, mother’s body studies the saliva and gives signals to alter the composition of breast milk. So the next feed would satisfy child’s requirements.
So a mother makes customized milk for the child at every feed. Milk varies in consistency, composition based on the time of the day, age of the child and their growth requirements.
Breast feeding may not be easy for some mothers but it is a fundamental need for every child.
It will be good to consult with a trusted elder or a lactation consultant online or in-person and resolve any issues around breast feeding before considering supplements.