The Real Reason They Tell Us Formula Is a Good Substitute for Breast Milk

Adiel Gorel

The Benefits of Breastfeeding For Mom & The Risks of Not Breastfeeding

Karen Federici, MD, is a breastfeeding expert, family physician, TEDx speaker, and someone I admire. She helps families and communities learn about the benefits of breastfeeding for moms, meet their breastfeeding goals, and focuses on areas such as holistic medicine, newborn care, and more. I am very happy I got to have her as a guest on The Adiel Gorel Show. My chat with Karen is a fascinating conversation with a lot of information that should be much more widely known.

Benefits of breastfeeding for mom and consequences of not breastfeeding.

Karen tells me how after the birth of her first daughter she had difficulty having her newborn latch on and the hospital people didn’t seem equipped to help. It took a lactation consultant to establish breastfeeding, and this made her think about what seemed to be a big gap in the healthcare system. Karen decided to go to medical school and become a doctor. Over the years she has learned a lot and helped many others as well.
While we all know that breastfeeding is really good for the baby, we are also learning about the benefits of breastfeeding for moms. Not only does it give the baby optimum nutrition and prevent overeating, but it also helps give a protective effect against several types of cancer to the mother. While bottle feeding is passive, breastfeeding is active. It is something that the baby has to learn, making it a baby-led or baby-driven activity. It is an activity that not only nourishes the body but also the spirit. The hormones released in the mom during breastfeeding are also very important.
benefits of breastfeeding for mom

Many people tell me that their doctors don’t really know the answers to any breastfeeding questions, so I decided to be the doctor that would. – Karen Federici, MD

In the course of our chat, Karen explains at length the benefits of breastfeeding for moms and the risks of not breastfeeding. She agrees with me when I say that it is likely that Qi passes from mother to baby and back during nursing; it is just something we don’t yet have the tools to measure.  

Plugging formula.

Karen shares how, when she had difficulty breastfeeding, the people at the hospital were quick to suggest formula. I ask her whether formula is as good as breast milk and she is of the view that it really is not, simply because it is derived from cow’s milk, which is for a calf, whereas breast milk is specially for a baby. While people have tried to make formula somewhat similar to breast milk, there may be a lot we may actually be missing. As we haven’t been able to measure Qi yet, it is possible that there may be a lot of components of breast milk that we still haven’t discovered or been able to replicate.
Karen speaks about the financial incentives that make doctors and others promote formula. Even though it is a substitute, something artificial, it’s plugged as though it’s as good as the real thing. Formula can be a resource that can be used when breast milk simply is not available. However, the formula manufacturers have marketed their products to the healthcare industry very effectively as not just a substitute, but an excellent alternative. We try to measure it all with ounces and calories, but that is not how baby nutrition is meant to be. Breastfeeding is a skill that we as a society have lost, says Karen.
Karen Federici, MD, has a lot of really valuable information to share about the benefits of breastfeeding for moms. Tune in to my podcast to know more – whether you’re a woman or whether you’re related to one!
Adiel Gorel

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