Breast milk remains the one and only natural, ample and complex nourishment for infants. It is nature's formula for safeguarding the health and quality of life for infants, as well as on through childhood to adult life. Just as importantly, breastfeeding promotes a very special bond between mother and child that only mother can provide. The most beneficial and natural act a mother can do for her child is breastfeeding. It has been proven that through breast milk health benefits pass from mother to child. From the exclusive nutrients in mother’s milk, which have been shown to prevent a number of childhood diseases to antibodies and protect an infant at birth. With breastfeeding a mother can affect the present and future health of her baby. However breastfeeding is often thought as unnecessary in today’s society and sometimes mothers are wrongly led to the idea that formula feeding does very well as a replacement for breast milk. They are wrong because nothing can match the assets of breast milk, no matter how many vitamins, minerals and supplements are added to what is basically a chemical formulation.
To comprehend the benefits of breastfeeding entirely, these are some of the most important, but by no mean all of the benefits of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is known to be beneficial both in the long term and short term, to the mother and also to the child and have long been recognized and are widely broadcasted. Breastfeeding was identified as a mean to improve the child’s health and also to reduce health inequalities among mothers and children (United Kingdom Department of Health) (2004). The risks of illnesses in childhood are known to be reduced when a mother choose to breastfeed. Illnesses such as respiratory, diarrheal, atopic, and gastrointestinal are known to be reduced. Recent studies shows that breastfeeding has also a protective effect against the development of type 1 diabetes (Sadauskaite-Kuehne, Ludvigsson, Padaiga, Jasinskeine, & Samuelsson, 2004), type 2 diabetes (Young et al. , 2002) and obesity (Owen, Martin, Whincup, Smith, & Cook, 2005).
Apart from medical benefits there are also psychological benefits with breastfeeding. Bonding, skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby has shown to reduce crying (Christensson, Cabrera, Christensson, Unwa’s-Moberg, & Winberg, 1995). Other evidence of breastfeeding benefits in early and middle childhood is mental development (Anderson, Johnstone, & Remley, 1999). Breast milk may contain chemicals that stimulate brain development; factors associated with the feeding situation (i.e. physical and psychological contact between mother and infant); and unknown factors that relate with both feeding method and mental development, or related acknowledged factors that cannot be fully controlled in statistical analysis (Rogers, 1978).
Breastfeeding can be also beneficial to mothers. It can decrease blood loss during the immediate post-partum period. Pre-pregnancy weight can return quicker and, in the longer term reduces risk of developing pre-menopausal breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancers. (Carter & Altemus, 1997) based on their evidence suggests possible psychological benefits for mothers that breastfeed which include feelings of relaxation and attachment and reduction in apparent strain and bad temperament following a feeding interaction.
Adding to all this breastfeeding may provide also economic benefits in terms of covering or reducing direct or indirect costs. The direct costs that might be reduced or avoided would relate, of course, to clinic, hospital, physician and laboratory fees. Other direct economic benefit may be the reduced cost to buy infant formula for the first year after birth. Possible indirect costs may relate to time and wages loss by parents, mainly the mothers attending sick child should be considered when valuing the...