Breastfeeding protects young children from illness, lowers risk of obesity, helps with brain development, mother and child bonding, and has economic benefits for families and communities. The American Academy of Pediatrics AAP recommends breastfeeding for at least 12 months, exclusively for the first six months. The World Health Organization WHO suggests that breastfeeding, with the introduction of appropriate solid foods, continue from six months to toddlerhood, or a long as desired by both mother and baby. Yet we see a dramatic drop in breastfeeding rates after a baby comes home from the hospital. Current projects include:.
Psychological benefits The close interaction soociety frequent skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding can enhance bonding and emotional attachment between mother and baby. Read our guide so you know what to expect. Breastfed babies are rarely hospitalised for gastro-enteritis. Exclusive breastfeeding at one month of age brewstfeeding the risk of SIDS in half. Shows that the Baby Friendly Initiative is highly effective in improving breastfeeding rates. Breastfed babies are also less likely to be hospitalised for illnesses and infections.
Damaging sperm. Breastfeeding benefits for Children
An in-depth discussion of the advantages of breastfeeding and human milk easily could fill an entire text. The differences attributed to breastfeeding were distinct from other factors known to influence intelligence, such as education and socioeconomic status of the parents. I often enjoyed the freedom of traveling and camping with a nursing baby, without being bogged down by formula preparation. Breastfeeding also helps make a more productive workforce. These benign bowel germs create an acid environment that helps protect against the proliferation of harmful bacteria that cause infant diarrhea. For more specific information about the health benefits of breastfeeding, visit one of the following resources:. Office of the Surgeon General. Alternate methods of birth control should Hothot babe used if a woman's periods have returned, if routine supplements have been introduced, or if a breastfeeding woman is more than six months postpartum. When infants and children are sick, mothers or fathers often stay home to care for them. Alternate methods of birth control also should be used if a breastfeeding woman is unwilling to accept Benefits of breastfeeding to the society a remote risk of pregnancy.
Breastfeeding is quite simply the best way to feed your baby, giving your child the best possible start in life.
- Research shows that breastfeeding offers many health benefits for infants and mothers, as well as potential economic and environmental benefits for communities.
- Breastfeeding is quite simply the best way to feed your baby, giving your child the best possible start in life.
- There are so many nutritional, developmental and general health benefits to breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding offers society not only improved health of children and mothers but also economic and environmental benefits.
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There are so many nutritional, developmental and general health benefits to breastfeeding. But did you know those benefits go beyond your baby? Marianne Neifert breaks gives you a breakdown of all the benefits of breastfeeding.
In this article, you'll learn. The truth is that the advantages of breastfeeding must be rediscovered by each new generation of parents. While the marketing of infant formulas represents a lucrative industry, human milk attracts little commercial interest.
Expectant parents get bombarded with advertising from infant formula companies, while the promotion of breastfeeding depends largely on testimonials from other mothers and the endorsement of enlightened health professionals. Breastfeeding proponents may not have any slick ads or a big advertising budget, but nothing has yet been manufactured by man that can compete with the natural benefits breastfeeding can provide your baby, yourself and your family.
In my experience, the numerous health benefits to infants are the chief reasons parents give for choosing to breastfeed. Prospective parents who are informed about the compelling arguments in favor of breastfeeding usually are motivated to give nursing a try. An in-depth discussion of the advantages of breastfeeding and human milk easily could fill an entire text. Every year, scientists discover new ways that human milk enhances an infant's health and development.
The proteins in human milk include disease-fighting antibodies and many other important immune properties. All infant feeding experts agree that human milk is nature's perfect design for feeding babies, and that it is uniquely suited to promote optimal infant growth and development. This precise biochemical balance-virtually a "symphony of ingredients"-cannot possibly be duplicated artificially. The components in human milk represent more than necessary nutrients, and many play multiple roles in promoting the health and development of babies.
The proteins in human milk not only provide essential building blocks for growth, but also perform other vital functions, including helping to protect babies from illness. Human milk has less protein than the amount added to formulas because breast milk protein is utilized more efficiently by babies.
It forms a softer curd that is more easily digestible than cow's milk or formula curd. Breastfed babies feed more often than formula-fed infants because their stomachs empty sooner. Proteins break down into amino acids, the composition of which is ideally suited to meet the unique requirements of infants.
The fats in human milk provide its major source of energy and are essential for the optimal development of the infant brain and nervous system. Breast milk conveniently contains a fat-digesting enzyme, lipase, that aids an infant's fat digestion. Human milk is rich in long-chained polyunsaturated fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid DHA , an essential omega-3 fatty acid. DHA is present in large amounts in human milk, and is also added to formula.
DHA is found in the infant's rapidly developing brain and eye tissue and is necessary for proper brain and eye development. It is not yet known whether an infant diet lacking the fatty acid composition of human milk has permanent adverse effects. However, a study found poorer visual ability in formula-fed premature babies than in those fed breast milk.
Human milk is also rich in cholesterol, while formulas have little or none. Although the significance of this is unknown, research in rats suggests that animals who consume high levels of cholesterol in infancy may be better able to cope with dietary cholesterol and maintain a lower cholesterol level in later life. The predominant carbohydrate found in milk is lactose, also known as milk sugar because it is found only in milk.
In addition to being an important source of calories, lactose improves the absorption of certain minerals, including calcium. Lactose also promotes the growth of harmless intestinal bacteria in the breastfed baby's gut. These benign bowel germs create an acid environment that helps protect against the proliferation of harmful bacteria that cause infant diarrhea. Over the first ten days, colostrum gradually changes to mature milk, which is lower in protein and higher in lactose and fat.
Although thinner in appearance, mature milk remains unmatched in nutritional quality. The fat content of milk is low at the beginning of a feeding and increases throughout the feeding. Breast milk is easily digested and produces loose bowel movements that are passed easily and that are not unpleasant smelling. An intimate bond is forged during the feeding process, ensuring the close, attentive parental care necessary for survival and growth.
One of the strongest arguments for the superiority of human milk in infant feeding is the way the milk of each species of mammal is specifically tailored to the unique growth needs of its young. In general, the nutrient content of a particular mammal's milk is directly related to the rate at which the newborn doubles its birth weight. Mammals with more dilute milks typically feed their young at close intervals, while those with more nutrient-dense milks feed less frequently.
Aquatic and cold-weather mammals, like whales and polar bears, produce milk with an extremely high fat content to ensure sufficient calories to maintain an insulating layer of blubber. Human babies are among the most immature mammalian newborns, completely dependent on adults for care and survival. Human babies also have one of the slowest rates of growth, taking about four-and-a-half months to double their birth weight.
As expected, human milk is among the most dilute of all mammalian milks, and our feeding pattern is a frequent one-every-couple-of-hours around the clock. This frequent feeding schedule provides an additional benefit. Each time the baby is positioned to nurse, the distance between his eyes and his mother's face is ideal for allowing him to focus well.
Even minor differences between human milk and formula could have important consequences. While mother's milk is the gold standard upon which all infant formulas are modeled, it is impossible to create an infant formula that exactly mimics your own milk.
For one thing, all the ingredients in human milk have not been fully identified. Scientists are constantly discovering new properties in human milk that are absent in formulas, or are gaining new understandings about the function of a previously known component of human milk.
Whenever it is possible to add an essential ingredient to formulas, manufacturers scramble to modify their product to more closely resemble human milk. While I am grateful that infant formulas are available for those instances when they are needed, we must never lose sight of the fact that human milk is uniquely superior to any breast milk substitute and it is impossible to precisely match, no matter how many times a product is "improved.
We also must remember that many components of breast milk simply cannot be incorporated into formulas. Even minor differences between human milk and formula could have important consequences, since a newborn is totally dependent on a single food during a critical period of growth and development. Finally, remember that formulas are based on cow's milk, and it is virtually impossible to change the milk from one mammal into that of another.
Thus, no formula will ever be able to exactly duplicate your own milk. Even if clever advertising messages try to convince you that a particular formula is "closest to mothers' milk," infant formulas actually represent a distant second choice. Breastfed infants, especially those who nurse exclusively for four to six months, experience only half as many ear infections as formula-fed infants.
Antibodies against germs to which the mother recently has been exposed appear in her milk a short time later to protect her baby against the same infecting organisms. Breastfeeding provides the greatest protection against illness in developing countries. Infant diarrhea is a major cause of childhood illness in the United States, resulting in more than a million office visits, , hospitalizations, and about 1,00 deaths each year.
It has long been recognized that breastfed infants have far fewer bouts of diarrhea and vomiting than formula-fed babies. If a breastfed infant does develop an intestinal illness, continued nursing usually is well tolerated and the duration of illness is shortened. The protective effect of human milk against diarrhea is greatest while a baby is exclusively breastfed.
Premature infants are particularly susceptible to a serious, potentially life-threatening bowel infection known as necrotizing enterocolitis NEC. Several studies, including a large, multi-centered study of nearly 1, infants, have found that NEC occurred more commonly in premature infants who were solely formula-fed compared to those who were fed breast milk alone. Respiratory Illness. Breastfeeding helps protect against serious lower respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis, as well as upper respiratory infections, including ear infections.
Respiratory syncytial virus RSV -the most common cause of serious respiratory illness in infants and young children-is responsible for , infant hospitalizations and about deaths each year in the United States. Breastfed infants have fewer RSV infections, and when they do get sick with RSV, they have less severe cases and fewer hospitalizations. Ear Infections. Ear infections are the most common childhood illness, accounting for nearly 30 million pediatric office visits each year.
Nearly half of all infants get at least one ear infection in their first year of life, and close to 20 percent of babies suffer from recurrent ear infections three or more bouts in six months. Other Illnesses. Recent studies suggest that breastfeeding provides substantial protection against urinary tract infections in infancy and early childhood. Breastfed infants have a lower risk of blood-borne infections and spinal meningitis compared to bottle-fed babies.
Breastfed infants also appear to be protected from the most severe form of infant botulism, a rare illness that results when Clostridia botulinum spores, present on agricultural products, including honey, are consumed by infants. Honey should not be fed to infants under one year. Several studies comparing possible causative factors associated with childhood cancers have found the duration of breastfeeding to have been significantly greater among healthy children than children with cancer.
The findings are most prominent for cases of childhood lymphoma. Some studies have shown a reduced risk of diabetes in breastfed children, especially those with a longer duration of exclusive breastfeeding. Evidence is also accumulating to suggest that breastfeeding provides significant protection against inflammatory bowel disease Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis. Parents deserve to know all the factors that potentially can reduce their child's risk of SIDS.
Much national attention has been given to the relationship between the prone tummy-down sleeping position in infants and the incidence of SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that the prone position be avoided for sleeping infants and that babies be placed to sleep on their backs. Many of the hormones and growth factors in human milk have only recently been identified, and their importance to babies is not yet fully understood.
Some hormones appear only in the colostrum, others are present only in later milk, while still others are present in variable amounts throughout the course of lactation. These precisely regulated hormones may influence the timing of certain developmental events in the baby. So little is known about the various hormones and growth factors in human milk that it is impossible to try to replicate them in formulas. Meanwhile, no one knows whether what a baby eats in early life will later affect his well-being as a senior citizen.
Whether nutrition in early life has a long-term impact on brain development remains controversial. However, several studies involving both full-term and preterm infants have found a link between later cognitive performance and method of infant feeding. Children who were breastfed as infants achieved significantly higher scores on a variety of intelligence tests compared to those who had been artificially fed. The differences attributed to breastfeeding were distinct from other factors known to influence intelligence, such as education and socioeconomic status of the parents.
The breastfeeding relationship involves unique giving and receiving between mother and baby. A baby has a regular and vital need for her mother's milk and physical closeness, while a mother's full breasts regularly need to be relieved and drained. Thus, breastfeeding assures that mothers and babies remain intimately connected through the making and taking of milk.
What health benefits does breastfeeding give my baby? However, more research is needed to confirm these findings. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that the prone position be avoided for sleeping infants and that babies be placed to sleep on their backs. An in-depth discussion of the advantages of breastfeeding and human milk easily could fill an entire text. Human milk uses no natural resources and generates no industrial waste.
Benefits of breastfeeding to the society. Reader Interactions
The Advantages of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding gives babies the best start for a healthy life and has benefits for the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies. Breastfeeding also has economic benefits for the whole family and society. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended until babies are around six months of age, with the introduction of appropriate complementary feeding foods and drinks other than breastmilk at this age, in addition to continued breastfeeding to 12 months and beyond, for as long as mother and child desire.
All health workers have a responsibility to encourage, support and promote breastfeeding according to these recommendations. However, health workers should acknowledge that any breastfeeding has benefits for both baby and mother. Breastfeeding is a normal physiological process. Breastfeeding requires the encouragement and support of partners, families and health carers. Breastfeeding mothers returning to work also need support from their employers.
Exclusive breastfeeding is when the baby is only given breastmilk even if this is expressed breastmilk — additional fluids are not required. Breastmilk provides all the food and drink that a baby needs for around the first six months of life. Health professionals should ensure new parents and families have received information on the benefits of breastfeeding, and should discuss the potential risks of not breastfeeding or of introducing complementary foods too early.
The close interaction and frequent skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding can enhance bonding and emotional attachment between mother and baby. Breastmilk does not cost money, and the decreased risk of illness results in reduced hospital admissions and healthcare costs. Skip links and keyboard navigation Skip to content Skip to site navigation Skip to footer Use tab and cursor keys to move around the page more information.
Health alerts:. Measles 9. Site header. Contact us Help. You are here: Home Clinical practice Clinical guidelines and procedures Clinical staff Maternity and neonatal Maternal and infant nutrition Breastfeeding Importance of breastfeeding.
Importance of breastfeeding Breastfeeding gives babies the best start for a healthy life and has benefits for the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies.
What is 'exclusive breastfeeding'? Breastfed babies are also less likely to be hospitalised for illnesses and infections. Psychological benefits The close interaction and frequent skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding can enhance bonding and emotional attachment between mother and baby. For the mother Research shows that breastfeeding has significant health benefits for mothers. For society Environmentally friendly Breastmilk has no waste products and leaves no carbon footprint.
Economical Breastmilk does not cost money, and the decreased risk of illness results in reduced hospital admissions and healthcare costs. Breastfeeding Importance of breastfeeding Planning to breastfeed How to breastfeed Breastfeeding problems Breastfeeding resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families Breastfeeding resources for multicultural families.
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