Benefits of Breastfeeding – Combating Contraindicated Feeding Practices in Developing Countries
Breastfeeding is suggested for infants; however, it is most recommended in low birth weight, preterm babies, and at birth. It can also be used as an alternative feeding system for selecting other special foods. Breastfeeding may also reduce the occurrence of food allergies or nut allergies. A conclusion that may be drawn is that breast milk itself does not cause any harm to a newborn.
Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce
the risk of various health problems for most women, with the most notable being allergy-induced colic. A further major benefit of breastfed infants is that they tend to consume less formula-fed infant food. Statistics suggest that nine out of every ten breastfeed infants experience no problem with their colic. Most formula-fed infants tend to have gastrointestinal problems such as gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea at least twice per week.
The chief benefit of breastfeeding
is that it provides the exclusive or authentic dietary nutrition needed by the infant. This is in contrast to the nutritional needs of bottle-fed or other infant methods. There is a lack of nutrients in human milk that is needed for the growing infant’s entire first year. Human milk is rich in antibodies, which are needed to protect the infant against infection, allergies, illnesses, diseases, and other microorganisms. Breastfeeding also provides the necessary fatty acids that have vital roles in the infant’s development. Furthermore, human milk provides all the essential vitamins and minerals that are needed for growth and development.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
concluded that breastfeeding is beneficial to full-term infants through the first year of life through the promotion of breastfeeding initiation and promotion of breastfeeding at subsequent ages. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a record amount of research has been conducted on breastfeeding: nine studies on six unique topics, each with a different focus. These studies collectively provide extensive data on the psychological and physiological benefits of breastfeeding.
The committees noted
that breastfeeding provides numerous benefits to infants including psychological benefits, maternal and infant health benefits, and greater nutritional status than formula-feeding. In addition, breastfeeding is associated with fewer ear infections, respiratory infections, diarrhea and vomiting, skin rashes, hair loss, a lower risk of childhood obesity, and type II diabetes. Additionally, breastfeeding has been shown to enhance the bond between mother and child through bonding, repetition, and discipline. Finally, breastfeeding reduces the risk of serious complications such as sudden infant death syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and chronic bronchitis.
For developed countries, low birth weight and early death
from gastrointestinal disorders are widespread. Studies have found that in industrialized countries, on average half of all infants do not receive adequate milk or complementary food for their growing needs. On the other hand, in developing countries, breastfed infants can be observed to be healthier with fewer illnesses and with longer life spans. Breastfeeding has been proven to reduce the risks of death from gastrointestinal disorders, premature death, underweight, infant death, infant diarrhea, vomiting, ear infections, respiratory infections, diarrhea, skin rashes, and chronic bronchitis. The potential benefits of breastfeeding should be explored by both the consuming public and physicians alike.