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On the next page find out if there is a nutritional difference between breastmilk provided by nursing and expressed breastmilk.
Is There a Nutritional Difference?
In regard to the differences between breastmilk provided by breastfeeding and expressed breastmilk, we have learned through research that some of the immune components, vitamins and fat may be lost during the storage and handling of expressed milk. (Lawrence 1994) (Arnold 1999)
I want to strongly stress that even with these losses, expressed breastmilk is much better for your baby than formula. With breastmilk, like any food, fresh is best, second to that would be refrigerated and frozen would be the next choice, though again still vastly superior to formula. To compensate for the loss of some of the components through storage and the changes that occur in the composition of breastmilk related to the age of the baby and time of day, it’s a good idea to try to provide some freshly-pumped milk as often as it is reasonable.
When a baby is nursing from the breast there can be enhanced immune response. Mothers will also start to produce specific antibodies to illnesses when exposed directly to a germ, so if there is a cold or other minor infectious illness going through your family it might boost your baby’s protection to provide more freshly pumped milk at that time.
While pumped breastmilk, provided by bottle, is not exactly the same as breastmilk directly taken through breastfeeding, it is certainly as close to breastfeeding as one can get. Breastfeeding is always considered the number one choice for all infants, with mother’s own expressed milk as a very close second choice. Banked breastmilk (though not widely available) would be the third choice, with formula coming in a distant fourth.