What is Breastfeeding?
|Fig: Importance of breastfeeding|
6 Advantages of Breast Feeding:
The advantages of breast feeding are as follows:
- Nutritive value,
- Digest ability,
- Protective value,
- Physiological benefits,
- Maternal benefits,
- Family and community benefits.
1. Nutritive Value:
- 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.
- 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 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:
- 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:
- 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:
- 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:
- Lactation may not be adequate.
- Breast feeding demands maternal proximity.
- Social life may be upset. This is applied principally to western civilizations.
- Breast feeding increases the occurrence of problems such as cracked nipple and breast abscess.