MEDICALLY REVIEWED

Powdered Breast Milk Linked to Reduced Nutrients and Antibodies Levels

breast milk breastfeeding indonesia

The Indonesian Pediatric Society (IDAI) discourages the use of powdered breast milk due to contamination risks. 

IDAI highlights the importance of direct breastfeeding for optimal infant health and development. They stress the irreplaceable benefits of breast milk’s nutrients and antibodies.

IDAI Warns Against Powdered Breast Milk: Prioritise Direct Breastfeeding for Your Infant’s Health

The Indonesian Pediatric Society (IDAI) strongly advises against the use of powdered breast milk for infants due to the risk of contamination. IDAI emphasises the importance of direct breastfeeding to ensure close contact between mother and baby and to strengthen the parent-child bond. They also warn that the freeze-drying method of breast milk, while potentially saving storage space and being more practical, lacks regulations or recommendations from health organisations like the CDC, AAP, or FDA. IDAI further highlights that the active components that make breast milk superior are lost during the freeze-drying process, and that the powdered milk product is not sterile during production. There is a risk of bacterial multiplication during storage.

While freeze-drying breast milk might seem like a convenient way to store breast milk and offer an alternative to direct breastfeeding, IDAI highlights several reasons why it’s not recommended.

Direct Breastfeeding: The Gold Standard for Infant Nutrition

Direct breastfeeding offers numerous advantages for newborns and infants. It’s the natural and ideal way to nourish your baby, providing essential nutrients, antibodies, and other immunological benefits that are crucial for their development. Studies have shown that breastfed babies have stronger immune systems, experience better digestion, and exhibit improved cognitive development compared to formula-fed infants.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is vital for optimal infant health. IDAI’s warning serves as a crucial reminder for Asian parents to prioritise direct breastfeeding for their babies’ well-being.

Why Powdered Breast Milk Falls Short

There are several reasons why IDAI advises against powdered breast milk:

  • Loss of Essential Nutrients: The freeze-drying process used to create powdered breast milk can diminish the levels of vital nutrients and antibodies naturally present in breast milk. These components are critical in strengthening your baby’s immune system and promoting healthy growth.
  • Risk of Contamination: Powdered breast milk can become contaminated during various stages, including manufacturing, storage, and preparation. This contamination can introduce harmful bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms into the milk, posing a significant health risk to infants. In some Asian countries, where food safety regulations might be less stringent, the risk of contamination is even higher.
  • Unregulated Production: Unlike commercially produced infant formula, there are currently no established regulations or recommendations for the production and use of powdered breast milk from health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This lack of oversight raises concerns about the safety and quality of powdered breast milk products.

Embrace Direct Breastfeeding for a Healthy Start

IDAI’s warning emphasises the importance of prioritising direct breastfeeding for your infant’s health and development. Breast milk provides the perfect blend of nutrients and antibodies specifically tailored to your baby’s needs. It fosters a close bond between mother and child, promoting emotional well-being alongside physical health.

For Asian parents seeking to optimise their babies’ health, IDAI’s message is clear: prioritise direct breastfeeding over powdered breast milk alternatives. If you have concerns about breastfeeding or require support, reach out to lactation consultants or healthcare professionals for guidance. Remember, direct breastfeeding is the natural and recommended way to nourish your infant and give them the best possible start in life.

Additional Considerations for Asian Parents

While IDAI’s warning highlights the key concerns surrounding powdered breast milk, there are other factors Asian parents should consider when making informed decisions about infant feeding:

  • Cultural Attitudes: Breastfeeding practices can vary across Asian cultures. Some cultures may have strong traditions of breastfeeding, while others might introduce formula or other supplements earlier. It’s important to be aware of cultural norms but prioritise evidence-based recommendations for your baby’s health.
  • Workplace Challenges: Returning to work after childbirth can pose challenges for breastfeeding mothers in Asia. Lack of adequate maternity leave, limited access to lactation facilities at workplaces, and societal pressures can hinder consistent breastfeeding practices. Advocating for workplace support and seeking alternative solutions like pumping and storage can help sustain breastfeeding routines.
  • Support Systems: A strong support network is crucial for successful breastfeeding. Enlist the help of partners, family members, or healthcare professionals to address any difficulties you might face. La Leche League International, a global organisation supporting breastfeeding mothers, has chapters in many Asian countries offering resources and guidance.

Building Confidence in Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a natural process, but it can also require learning and practice. Here are some tips to boost your confidence and establish a successful breastfeeding journey:

  • Early Initiation: Initiate breastfeeding immediately after birth, ideally within the first hour, to promote skin-to-skin contact and colostrum intake. Colostrum, the first milk produced, is rich in antibodies and essential for your baby’s immune system.
  • Frequent Feedings: Breastfeed your baby on demand, whenever they show hunger cues. This frequent feeding pattern helps establish your milk supply and caters to your baby’s individual needs.
  • Proper Latch: Ensure your baby has a good latch on your breast to maximise milk transfer and prevent nipple soreness. Lactation consultants can assist you in achieving a comfortable and effective latch.
  • Seek Help: Don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance from lactation consultants or healthcare providers if you encounter difficulties with breastfeeding. They can offer personalised advice and support to address any challenges you might face.

By prioritising direct breastfeeding and addressing potential obstacles, Asian parents can empower themselves to provide their infants with the optimal foundation for healthy growth and development.

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