Advantage and Disadvantage of Breastfeeding | Breastfeeding Benefits

What is Breastfeeding?

Human breastfeeding is considered as the best natural feeding and breast milk is the best milk. The basic food of infant is mother’s milk. It is the most efficacious way to provide a baby with a caring environment and complete food. Breast milk is the ideal food for baby up to the age of 6 months. Until 4 to 5 months after birth, no other food is required by the baby.
Importance of breastfeeding
Fig: Importance of breastfeeding

6 Advantages of Breast Feeding:  

The advantages of breast feeding are as follows:

  1. Nutritive value,
  2. Digest ability,
  3. Protective value,
  4. Physiological benefits,
  5. Maternal benefits,
  6. Family and community benefits.
All the above key points have described in the following:

1. Nutritive Value:
It includes-

  • Breast milk contains all the nutrients in the right proportion which are needed for optimum growth and development of the baby up to 4 to 6 months.
  • It is crucial for growing brain of the infant.
  • It facilitates absorption of calcium which helps in bony growth.
  • It has vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and water in the right proportion for the infant which are necessary for the maturation of the intestinal tract.
  • It provides 66 calories per 100ml and contains 1.2gm protein, 3.8gm fat and 7gms lactose.
  • It provides specific nutrition for preterm baby in preterm delivery.
2. Digest ability:
It includes-
  • Breast milk is easily digestible.
  • The proteins of breast milk are mostly lacto albumin and lactoglobulin which form a soft curd that is easy to digest.
  • During the digestion of fats, the enzyme lipase in the breast milk helps and provides free fatty acids.

3. Protective Value:
It includes-

  • It provides protection against malaria and various viral and bacterial infections like skin infections, septicemia etc.
  • Breast feeding protects the infants from allergy and bronchial asthma.
  • It protects against neonatal hypocalcemia, tetany, neonatal convulsions etc.

4. Physiological Benefits:
It includes-

  • Breastfeeding flourishes close physical and emotional bondage with the mother by frequent skin to skin contact, attention and interaction.
  • Breastfeeding flourishes development of higher intelligence and feeling of security in infant.

5. Maternal Benefits:
It includes-

  • Breast feeding reduces the chance of postpartum hemorrhage and helps in better uterine involution.
  • Breastfeeding develops metabolic efficiency and satisfaction with sense of fulfillment of the mother.
  • It reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer of the mother.
  • It is more convenient and time saving for the other.

6. Family and Community Benefits:
It includes-

  • Breastfeeding is so economical in terms of saving time, money and energy.
  • Family has to spend less no milk, health care and illness.
  • Through breastfeeding, community expenditure on health care and contraception are reduced.
  • It is economic for the families, communities, hospitals and for the countries.

Disadvantages of Breast Feeding:

It includes-

  1. Lactation may not be adequate.
  2. Breast feeding demands maternal proximity.
  3. Social life may be upset. This is applied principally to western civilizations.
  4. Breast feeding increases the occurrence of problems such as cracked nipple and breast abscess.

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