Breast feeding


See ((Breast milk))

Recommended during the first 6 months of life with continued breast feeding as long as mutually desired but at least through the first year of life.

Breastfeeding is the ideal source of nutrition for infants, yet only 1 in 4 is exclusively breastfed through 6 months of age as recommended. 


Breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for most infants. 


Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of some short-term health conditions for infants and long-term health conditions for infants and mothers.

Mother’s own milk serves three key functions: nourishment, protection, and communication for the infant.

World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months.

WHO recommends breastfeeding in addition to other food for up to two years of age or more.

In some cultures it is common to breastfeed children for three to five years, and the period may be longer.

Improves the survival, health, and development of children.

The early milk is called colostrum, and it contains antibodies that provide protection to the newborn baby as well as nutrients and growth factors.

It is estimated 83% of the new mothers in the US breast-feed at some time during the postpartum period.

To achieve its full benefits, breast-feeding should continue up to the age of two years.

Protection against mortality and morbidity from infectious disease extends into the second year of life.

Breast-feeding prevents half of deaths caused by infections in children age 6-23 months.

Protects against otitis media, a common childhood illness up to two years and possibly beyond.

Breast-fed infants have lower risks of developing asthma, obesity, type two diabetes, ear and respiratory infections, and sudden infant death syndrome.

It is estimated that the deaths of 823,000 children and 20,000 mothers could be averted each year through universal breast-feeding.Benefits include improved cognitive development, enhanced neurodevelopmental performance, fewer instances of otitis media, respiratory infection, diarrheal illness, necrotizing enterocolitis, allergic disease, atopic eczema, childhood lymphoma, type I diabetes, bacteremia, meningitis, urinary tract infection, sudden infant death syndrome and hospitalization.

Mother’s milk, confers protection against necrotizing enterocolitis, which is a life-threatening gastrointestinal condition affecting preterm born infants, almost exclusively.

Mother’s milk feeding in the NICU predicts improved neurodevelopmental outcomes through school age for a preterm born infants.

Mothers benefit from lower risks of high blood pressure, type two diabetes, ovarian and breast cancers.

Reduced incidence of obesity in breastfed children.

In women with a history of gestational diabetes, breast-feeding is associated with improved postpartum pancreatic beta cell function and glucose metabolism, lower glucose, and higher HDL cholesterol levels.

Reduces life time risk of breast cancer with a 6% reduction to every 12 months of breast-feeding.

A history of breastfeeding is associated with a 23 percent reduction in ovarian cancer risk among women who carry BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.

In a randomized study among healthy term infants the intervention to improve the duration and exclusivity of infant breast-feeding did not prevent overweight or obese, nor did it affect IGF-1 levels among children when they were aged 11.5 years (Martin RM et al).

Maternal benefits include delayed ovulation resulting in increased child spacing, earlier return to prepregnancy weight, increased bone density, less postpartum bleeding, lower incidence of ovarian cancer and lower incidence of premenopausal breast cancer.

Pooled analysis of case controlled studies found that breast-feeding can reduce risk of high-grade serious ovarian cancer.

Contraindications maternal infection with HIV, galactosemia and maternal medications contraindicated for breast feeding.

Breastfeeding recommendations duration is four to six months.

Almost 30% of mothers do not breast-feed.

In high income countries fewer than one every five children are breast-fed by the age of 12 months.

For each doubling in national gross domestic product per person, breast-feeding prevalence at 12 months decreases by 10 percentage points.

Breast-feeding has long-term effects on the health, nutrition, and development of children and women’s health.

Breast-feeding and breastfeeding duration in the United States is about 16% lower among black women than white women.

Only 40% of children are still being breast-fed at age 6 months.

Breast milk contains 20-80 international units of vitamin D per liter which is much less than an infant formula.

Improving breast-feeding could prevent 823,000 annual testing children younger

than five years of age and 20,000 annual deaths in women cause by breast cancer.

Is the estimated up to 50% of lactating women and their infants are exposed to medications and their potential effects.

High caffeine intake by a breastfeeding mother may cause their infants to become irritable or have trouble sleeping.


A meta-analysis has shown that breastfeeding mothers who smoke expose their infants to nicotine, which may cause respiratory illnesses, including otitis media in the nursing infant.


Pesticides and other toxic substances bioaccumulate in breast milk.


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