Breastfeeding is a very critical way of ensuring a child’s health and survival. Breast milk is the most suitable food for infants. It is safe and contains antibodies that help protect the child against many infections and common childhood illnesses (CDC, 2020). The major childhood illnesses include middle ear infections, respiratory tract infections, gut infections, bowel diseases, and allergic diseases such as asthma. Most healthcare professionals recommend breastfeeding for at least six months (CDC, 2020). Breast milk contains ideal nutrients in the right proportions. These nutrients are important for child growth and development during early life (CDC, 2020). In addition, breast milk helps promote healthy weight gain, preventing childhood obesity (CDC, 2020). This can be due to gut bacteria that affect fat storage. Breastmilk also has more leptin which regulates fat storage and appetite. Further, breastfeeding children have higher IQ scores and are less likely to develop learning difficulties (CDC, 2020). This can be attributed to touch, eye contact, and physical intimacy associated with breastfeeding.
Moreover, breastfeeding is also beneficial to the mother. The act of breastfeeding helps in uterine contractions by increasing oxytocin levels. This encourages uterine contractions and reduces postpartum bleeding (Cleveland Clinic, 2018). Subsequently, postpartum depression (PPD)develops after birth. Mothers who breastfeed their children are less likely to develop PPD than those who don’t (Cleveland Clinic, 2018). Breastfeeding also provides long-term protection against disease and other healthcare conditions. For instance, it reduces the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, hypertension, arthritis, hyperlipidemia, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (Cleveland Clinic, 2018).
Nonetheless, there are certain contraindications to breastfeeding. Mothers should not breastfeed their children if they are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, but the breastfeeding guidelines differ depending on the country (CDC, 2019). Mothers using illicit drugs such as cocaine or phencyclidine should not breastfeed their children. The third contraindication is mothers who have been confirmed or suspected of having the Ebola virus (CDC, 2019). In addition, mothers should temporarily abstain from breastfeeding their children if they have untreated brucellosis, are under certain medications, are undergoing diagnostic imaging with radiopharmaceuticals, and have an active HSV infection with breast lesions (CDC, 2019). Moreover, mothers should temporarily refrain from breastfeeding their children but feed expressed breastmilk if they have active untreated tuberculosis and active chickenpox infection (CDC, 2019).
In conclusion, breastfeeding is important to the mother and child. There are numerous health benefits that the infant can gain from exclusive breastfeeding. It is thus upon healthcare professionals to educate new mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding to ensure they exclusively breastfeed their children.
CDC. (2019, December 14). When breastfeeding or feeding, expressed milk is not recommended. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/contraindications-to-breastfeeding.html
CDC. (2020, November 12). Five great benefits of breastfeeding. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/features/breastfeeding-benefits/
Cleveland Clinic. (2018). Benefits of breastfeeding: For baby and mom. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15274-the-benefits-of-breastfeeding-for-baby–for-mom
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Compose a 400-word or less discussion to respond to the following:
Describe the benefits of breastfeeding. Is there an exception as to who should and should not breastfeed? Explain.
Read your partner’s posts and reply to at least two: What do you think is correct or incorrect about your partner’s choices?
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