Short term and long term benefits of breastfeeding have beendocumented in different literature. However, some people consider itas an optional form of infant feeding. According to the world healthorganization, inadequate nutrition one of the most important causesof death among children in both developed and developing world.Consequently, doctors recommend six months exclusive breastfeeding.Additionally, a child should continue to breastfeed after beingintroduced to other solid foods for an extended period (Holla-Bhar8). These recommendations are based on evidence based studies thatindicate that there are numerous benefits of breastfeeding to boththe child and the mother. However, there are many factors that limitthe ability of mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies. In themodern world, due to a number of factors, some mothers are usinginfant formula as an alternative to breastfeeding (Wambach and Jan41). This paper looks at some of the benefits of breastfeeding to theinfant and the mother.
Breast milk is the natural nourishment to the baby. Therefore, thereare health and psychological benefits associated with breastfeeding.Studies indicates that the cardiovascular and respiratory stabilityand the skin to skin contact between the child and the mother isassociated with less crying and nighttime feeding problems. Perhapsthe most important benefit of breastfeeding to a child is the abilityof breast milk to aid good health as well as growth and development.Breast milk contains the ideal nutrients such as vitamins, proteins,water, fat and mineral salts that are necessary for the growth anddevelopment of the child. Breast milk is provided in an easy todigest formula which does not strain the undeveloped infant digestivesystem. Due to the nutritional value of breast milk, exclusivebreastfeeding is associated with reduced risks of infections,allergic diseases, digestive diseases and terminal diseases. This isdue to important antibiotics that are passed from the mother to thechild, especially through colostrum. is also associatedwith enhanced mental and cognitive development in children (Wambachand Jan 41). It has also been established that exclusivebreastfeeding could be a solution to the widespread problem ofobesity in children (Moss and Yeaton 1224).
is also beneficial to the mother. It has an unmatchedimpact on the emotional and physical health of the mother afterbirth. The breastfeeding process has been found to strengthen thematernal relationship between the mother and the infant. Exclusivebreastfeeding has also been used as a birth control method, throughlactational amenorrhea, which delays return to fertility. also aids in the hormonal balance in the female body,especially after birth. The production of hormones such as oxytocinand prolactin increases as a result of breastfeeding. These hormonesare associated with reduced postpartum depression and contraction ofthe uterus. In addition to aiding weight loss after birth,breastfeeding is associated with long-term benefits such as reducedrisks of ovarian and breast cancers (Morrison and Karen 581).
In conclusion, although the modern lifestyles where mother havelimited time with their children limits breastfeeding, breast milk isthe natural nourishment to an infant. Breast milk is beneficial toboth the child and the mother. Due to health benefits of breast milkand the breastfeeding process, doctors recommend exclusivebreastfeeding of infant for six months. This is because it aids therecovery of the mother from pregnancy and process of giving birth.Children who breastfeed exclusively have reduce cases of infection inchildren and improved cognitive development.
Holla-Bhar, Radha et al. “Investing in breastfeeding, the worldbreastfeeding costing initiative”. International Journal, (2015) 10, pp 8
Morrison, Barbara and Karen, Wambach (2014). "Women’s Healthand ". In Wambach, Karen and Jan Riordan. and Human Lactation. ISBN 9781449697297, Jones &Bartlett Publishers, pp 581–588.
Moss, B.G. and Yeaton, W.H.. "Early childhood healthy and obeseweight status: Potentially protective benefits of breastfeeding anddelaying solid foods”. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 18(5): (2014), pp 1224–1232.
Wambach, Karen and Jan Riordan. and Human Lactation,ISBN 1449697291Jones & Bartlett Publishers, (2014)