Breast-feeding is defined as the extent of understanding conveyed about lactation and nourishment of an infant through breast-feeding. It is universally agreed that breast milk is the preferred method of feeding a newborn, because it provides numerous health benefits to both the mother and the infant, it remains the ideal nutritional sour
Little controversy exists about breast-feeding as the best nutrition for human infants, but the ultimate decision to breast-feed should depend on what would please the woman most and make her most comfortable. If she is comfortable and pleased with what she is doing, her infant will be comfortable and pleased, will enjoy being fed, and will thrive.
Advantages for a Mother
A woman gain several physiologic benefits from breast-feeding:
· Breast-feeding may serve a protective function in preventing breast cancer
· Successful breast-feeding can have an empowering effect, because it is a skill only a woman can master
· Breast-feeding reduces the cost of feeding and preparation time
· Breast-feeding provides an excellent opportunity to enhance a true symbiotic bond between mother and child
Some women believe that breast-feeding; because it causes a delay in menstruation (lactational amenorrhea) is a foolproof contraceptive technique. Some women believe that breast-feeding will help them lose weight gained during pregnancy. This is also not true, and women who not breast-feeding need to concentrate on eating a well-balanced diet to ensure their milk will be rich in nutrients
Advantages for a Baby
Breast-feeding has major physiologic advantages for a baby. Breast milk contains secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA), which binds large molecules of foreign proteins, including viruses and bacteria. The enzymes lysozyme in breast milk apparently actively destroys bacteria by dissolving their cell membranes. Leukocytes in breast milk provide protection against common respiratory infection invaders. Macrophanges (a protein that protects against viruses. The presence of Lactobacillus bifidus in breast milk interferes with the colonization pathogenic bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, reducing the incidence of diarrhea.
In addition to these antiinfective properties, breast milk contains the ideal electrolyte and mineral composition for human infant growth. It is high in lactose, an easily digested sugar that provides ready glucose for rapid brain growth. The protein in breast milk is easily digested. Breast milk also has a better balance of trace elements such as zinc.
Yet, another advantage is that breast-fed newborns appear to be able to regulate their calcium/phosphorus levels better than infants who are bottle-fed.
One disadvantage of breast milk is that it may carry microorganisms such as Hepatitis B and cytomegalovirus although the risk of infants is small. HIV is carried at a high enough level in breast milk that women who are HIV positive are advised not to breast-feed. In addition, both illicit and prescription drugs via breast milk to the infant.