The Short-Term and Long-Term Health Effects of Breastmilk Versus Formula for Infants
The purpose of this review of literature was to explore the short-term and long-term health effects of breastmilk versus formula. Proper nutrition in the early months and years of a child's life is critical to his or her development. Both breast milk and formula provide essential calories, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to infants for survival, and there are known benefits to both. Many articles are focused on the benefits of breastfeeding as opposed to formula, but the choice between the milk itself, from the breast, versus formula is less discussed. The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Tennessee Technological University Library Database Eagle Search were searched to find the research literature that included either breastmilk or formula use in regard to health effects. The goal in searching was to find the most specific, credible, and informative articles on the short-term and long-term effects of the two infant nutrition methods that could be used to make a hypothesis. Articles that met the criteria were analyzed and placed in categories supporting either formula or breastmilk as the better choice for infant nutrition. Results showed that the majority of articles support breastmilk. Although there are limitations to the research conducted, it can be concluded that breast milk is the most beneficial method of infant nutrition focusing on short- and long-term health.