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Mother's breast versus manufacturer's bottle - nature knows best, say doctors

The benefits of breast-milk over artificial feeds are indisputable - and widely acknowledged by the manufacturers of infant formula:

Human breast-milk and formula feeds both contain essential nutrients in similar proportions. But breast-milk supplies these nutrients in a blend which is perfect for a human child.

Breast-milk contains important antibodies and white blood cells which protect an infant from infection, particularly while its own immune system is immature.

Doctors, midwives and health visitors advise against bottle-feeding except when the mother finds herself unable to breast-feed, or if she does not produce enough milk.

However, the medical profession reassures mothers that they should not regard themselves as failures if they do not breast-feed.