CANBERRA, June 2 (PNA/Xinhua) — Breastfeeding should be encouraged over feeding newborns baby formula, as an over-reliance on formula could put the future health of children and their mothers “at risk”, researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) have said on Thursday.
Dr. Phillip Baker from ANU said there had been a dramatic jump in the sales of baby formula, particularly in the Asian market, but warned many infants might not be getting the nutrients needed to grow and develop properly.
The World Health Organization recommends infants are exclusively breastfed up to six months of age, with ongoing breastfeeding for up to two years of age and beyond, to ensure they get the “best start” in life.
Baker said the demanding lifestyle, particularly in China and South East Asian nations could be preventing many young moms from having the time to breastfeed, while company policies might also be not supportive of the practice.
He said it was important for not only the child’s health – but for the mother’s well-being – that they are being breastfed.
“Paid employment is a very good thing for families, especially those living on the bread line. The problem is that without paid parental leave or family friendly workplaces breastfeeding can be very difficult or even impossible,” Baker said.
“Without supportive workplace policies and regulations in place, formula feeding is often the only choice available to parents in many countries.”
The ANU has called on governments and doctors to recommend breastfeeding over baby formula, as many formula companies were taking over due to relentless marketing campaigns.
Baker said it might just be a case of many mothers simply not knowing better.
“The decision to breast feed or formula feed should be an informed choice made in dialogue with a health professional, not by the marketing of a formula company,” he said.
“Ultimately the health of mums and kids is at risk and governments need to do more.”