The benefits of breastfeeding exceed those of bottle feeding. Breastfeeding has been linked with reduction of many childhood illnesses; this is called natural immunity which is the result of the antibodies found in the mother’s milk. There is a greater nourishment factor in breast milk that formula and cow’s milk cannot offer. Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition.
Colostrum, Breast Milk and the Newborn
There are so many unknown variables when it comes to newborns and infants. Everyone has an opinion about what’s best for the baby. Grandmothers, sisters, aunts, mothers, and yes even the next door neighbor has an opinion about how you should raise your baby. You however are the best judge when it comes to feeding your baby. Breast milk is considered by far to be the best form of nourishment that you can give your little one.
Infants and newborns are often prone to various allergies from food to laundry detergent. The American Academy of Pediatrics writes that breastfeeding is the optimal nutrition for infants, and has the lowest rate of allergy related symptoms. Colostrum is the thick yellowish substance that is produced the first few days after the infant is born. This is the substance that helps protect against viral and bacterial infections. After about the fourth or fifth day the colostrum turns to mature breast milk. Breastfeeding allows the mother and the infant to bond as a result of the skin to skin contact and amount of time spent together reduces the effects of crying (Sloan, Stewart, & Dunne, 2010).
Benefits for the Infant
“Breast is Best” (Acker, 2009). According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (2005) human milk is species specific, and all substitute feeding preparations differ markedly from it, making human milk uniquely superior for infant feeding. AAP (2005) states that breastfeeding is defined as an infant’s consumption of human milk with no supplementation of any kind, such as water, formula (nonhuman milk), or solid foods. Breast milk is so much easier for the infant to digest than formulas or artificial milks. Every child has the right to being adequately fed a nutritious meal, however worldwide, barely one in three children are breastfed exclusively in the first four months of life, and only one in five receives breast milk at six months old (Sloan, Sneddon, Stewart, & Iwaniec, 2006) According to Sloan, Sneddon, Stewart, & Iwaniec (2006) more than 3,000 babies are dying every day from infections caused by bottle feeding, and 1.5 million children are dying each year because they are not breastfed. Breastfeeding eliminates the immeasurable costs of illness and death resulting from artificial feeding (Sloan, Sneddon, Stewart, & Iwaniec, 2006). The Department of Health (Sloan, Stewart, & Dunne, 2010) has identified breastfeeding as a means of improved child health, and the reduction of childhood illnesses as well as providing protection against otitis media (ear infections), respiratory illnesses, asthma and wheezing, gastroenteritis (dehydration and diarrhea) and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Not only does breastfeeding appear to be associated with decreased risk of illness and infection, but it is also associated with several positive health outcomes such as denser bones in childhood and adulthood and better visual acuity (Schulze, & Carlisle, 2010). Infants that are not breastfed show a higher rate of these childhood illnesses. Breastfeeding has also be shown to reduce the risks of developing type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and obesity (Sloan, Stewart, & Dunne, 2010). The longer the infant is breastfed the lower the odds of being obese. Obesity is a chronic condition, frequent in both developed and developing countries, that affects both adults and children (Savino, Fissore, Liguori, and Oggero, 2009). Breast milk contains the hormones leptin, ghrelin, adiponectin, resistin and obestatin, which play a role in...