Importance of Breastfeeding | Contraindications of Breastfeeding for Child and Mother

What is Exclusive Breastfeeding?

Exclusive breast feeding means that the baby has no other food or drink but breast milk-not even a “dummy”. If the baby sometimes has small amounts of another food or drink-such as drinks of water or vitamin drops-he is almost exclusively breastfed.

It implies feeding of breast milk is enough for the baby up to 6 months of life and no other food is necessary during this time. When a baby is given only breast milk, not even drop of water up to 6 months of age, it is called an absolute or exclusive breast feeding. In another article, i have discussed about the key differences between human breast milk and cow milk.

Breastfeeding by mother
Fig: Breastfeeding by mother

Duration of Exclusive Breastfeeding:

The best and safest way to feed a baby up to the age of 6 months is exclusive breastfeeding. Babies do not normally need anything other than breast milk, even in the first few days after they are born.

Importance of Breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding is so important due to the below reasons:
  1. Breast milk contains colostrum which protects infants.
  2. Breast milk is cheap.
  3. Breast milk is freely available.
  4. Breast milk is sterile.
  5. Breast milk can be given at any time.
  6. Breast milk increases the mother and child bonding.
  7. Breast milk is free from pathogenic organism.
  8. Breast milk helps in involution of uterus.
  9. Infants who cannot take breast milk are put on cow’s milk, soya milk or thin milk.

Contraindications of Breastfeeding for Mother:

Contraindications of breastfeeding for mother are given in the below:
  1. Mother with a serious psychiatric disorder.
  2. Markedly inverted nipples, fissures and cracks of nipples may not allow mother to feed children for sometimes.
  3. Mothers suffering from acute fevers, tuberculosis, chronic nephritis, heart disease and breast abscess, septicemia, eclampsia, breast tumor, post-partum psychosis etc.
  4. Mother has cancer and is being treated with anticancer agents.

Contraindications of Breastfeeding for Child:

Contraindications of breastfeeding for child are given in the following:
  1. If the infant has galactosemia since exposure to galactose (from lactose of human milk) will lead to serious mental retardation, cataracts and liver damage.
  2. If the infant has phenylketonuria, such infants need a diet low in phenylalanine. Breast milk contains phenylalanine in higher concentration.
  3. Gross per maturity of the baby or other condition in which the new born cannot suck.

More questions related to this article:

  • What do you mean by exclusive breastfeeding?
  • Define exclusive breastfeeding.
  • What is the importance of breastfeeding?
  • Why breastfeeding is so important for mother and child?
  • What are the benefits of breastfeeding for mum?
  • What are the benefits of breastfeeding for child development?
  • How much time provided for exclusive breastfeeding?
  • Mention the duration of exclusive breastfeeding?
  • List the contra indications of breast feeding for mother.
  • List the contra indications of breast feeding for child.

Leave a Comment