In a country where childhood obesity is an epidemic, parents must be cautious of what they feed their children, starting in infancy. A recent article in The New York Times reports that all formulas contain added sugar, and that Similac Organic formula is sweetened with cane sugar (sucrose), a much sweeter sugar. Breast milk, on the other hand, provides the perfect nutrition for babies while reducing the risk of, infections, chronic diseases and childhood obesity.

Added sugar in infant formula, specifically sucrose, is linked with several health risks, including damage to tooth enamel, a preference for more sweet foods and the inclination to overeat. Research shows that babies and children prefer sweeter foods and tend to eat more of it than foods that are less sweet. Babies who overeat and have rapid weight gain in the first year are more likely to become obese during childhood.

Breast milk, which contains no hidden ingredients, provides superior nutrients that cannot be duplicated in infant formulas. Breastfeeding provides nutritional, immunological and developmental benefits to children. Breastfed children have fewer incidences of respiratory infections and ear infections, and are leaner at one year than formula-fed children. Exclusive breastfeeding for a minimum of four months also decreases the risk of type 1 diabetes as well as the incidence of asthma and eczema.

"While parents' decision of how to feed their baby may seem inconsequential, it is a matter of optimal nutrition and health. Mothers who breastfeed can feel confident knowing their babies are receiving the perfect nutrition-with no harmful added ingredients," says Lamaze International President Allison Walsh, IBCLC, LCCE, FACCE. "Women are born to breastfeed and babies are born to be breastfed."

The World Health Organization affirms the scientific evidence of the superiority of breast milk and the hazards of formula, and recommends that mothers exclusively breastfeed for at least the first six months, continuing for two years and beyond. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages pediatricians to promote, protect and support breastfeeding in their individual practices as well as in hospitals and communities.

Lamaze International recommends that, at the time of birth, women be kept close to their babies, with an emphasis on skin-to-skin contact, and given unlimited opportunities to breastfeed. When mothers and babies spend frequent time together, beginning at birth, breastfeeding gets off to a better start and is more likely to be successful. Research shows that mothers who hold their babies skin-to-skin after birth are more likely to make greater amounts of breast milk, breastfeed longer and breastfeed without using formula.

Childbirth education classes, such as Lamaze, provide women with the tools and information they need to make educated choices during labor and birth, including tips for successful breastfeeding. For more information, visit

About Lamaze International

Since its founding in 1960, Lamaze International has worked to promote, support and protect normal birth through education and advocacy through the dedicated efforts of professional childbirth educators, providers and parents. An international organization with regional, state and area affiliates, its members and volunteer leaders include childbirth educators, nurses, midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, physicians, students and consumers.

Lamaze International