Breastfeeding – the gold standard
Breastfeeding provides clear immune-related advantages. Breast milk contains a perfect balance of nutrients, as well as antibodies, to help nurture and protect your growing baby. It’s also the ideal food for babies, as the proteins are easily digested and help support the developing immune system of infants. In addition, breast milk helps reduce the risk that a child develops particular allergies associated with infancy. This is partially because the unique proteins in breast milk are unlikely to trigger allergic reactions.
Formula feeding – a potential risk for allergies
Both the size and type of protein used make a difference when you’re choosing your baby’s first formula. Babies can be sensitive to large, “foreign” proteins, like cow and soy milk proteins found in infant formulas. In fact, some studies have shown that even a single bottle of whole-protein formula in the first week of life can lead to a baby developing a sensitivity to cow’s milk.
The larger the protein, the more likely your baby’s immune system will recognize it as a problem. Some infant formulas contain proteins that are hydrolyzed—or broken into smaller pieces. Smaller proteins, like those found in 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed infant formulas, are less likely to trigger protein sensitization.
That’s a very specific kind of formula. Our partners at Gerber make GERBER® GOOD START® Gentle Powder Formula which has these partially hydrolyzed proteins designed to be easy for baby to digest.
It’s not just milk allergies either. Some formula can cause the development of atopic dermatitis (AD) – an allergic skin rash – which sometimes results from protein sensitization. AD is the most common allergic disease in infancy. As many as 1 in 5 infants develop AD by six months of age.
Again, the formula you choose can have a big impact on whether your newborn will be at risk of developing atopic dermatitis. In fact, GERBER® GOOD START® Gentle Powder Formula is the only formula that meets FDA criteria to make the qualified claim that it reduces the risk of atopic dermatitis.
Formula feeding – what’s good for digestion
Cow milk-based infant formulas are made of casein and/or whey. Hydrolyzed whey protein is a high-quality protein that offers several benefits when it comes to your newborns digestion:
- Whey forms fewer or smaller curds, or possibly none at all during digestion, which means easier digestion
- Is already broken down, so is gentle on baby’s stomach
- Supports the formation of soft stools, similar to a breastfed baby
- Empty from a baby’s tummy at a similar rate as breast milk
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