18 November, 2009

Breast Feeding : Facts & Figures

The benefits of Breast Feeding:

The literature study demonstrate the benefits of breastfeeding on the health of mothers and also the health, growth and development of children, including premature. Breastfeeding reduces the incidence of several diseases or diminish their severity. Breastfeeding provides nutrients that strengthen the immune system of children which protects infants of different infectious and respiratory diseases. It would also have a protective effect against the syndrome of sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes, insulin, Chrohn's disease and Hodgkin's disease.

A recent study suggests that breastfeeding provides children with inadequate weight to have a faster growth and catch up more quickly than their normal weight when compare to children fed with commercial preparations, as well as, faster brain growth at a critical time of development (Lucas et al, 1997)

WHO recommendations:
The breast is irreplaceable. Breast milk is the best milk. Until August 7, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding organizes the Global Week of breastfeeding. 120 countries participated under the auspices of World Health Organization (WHO).

Colostrum, says WHO, secretion and thick yellowish milk produced in late pregnancy, is the perfect food for the newborn who needs to start feeding from the first hour after birth.

The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding until the age of six months. According to the World Alliance for Breastfeeding, all women can breastfeed. This is the most effective way to preserve health and ensure the survival of the child.

Globally, less than 40% of infants under six months are exclusively breastfed.

Benefits for Mother's:
Breastfeeding also has health benefits for mothers. In the short term, it stimulates the secretion of oxytocin, which in turn promotes uterine contraction and decreases the risk of bleeding after childbirth.

Breastfeeding a contraceptive effect in the first 6 months after birth when it is exclusive, it is performed on demand and that the mother is not menstruating, it inhibits the ovulatory function and reduces the risk of a new pregnancy to less than 2%. (EVEN WHEN IT IS NOT A METHOD CONTRACEPTRICE!)

Breastfeeding also has several advantages, since this reduces the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer later in life, which helps women find their faster weight before pregnancy and helps fight against obesity. It also reduces the risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture during post menopause. It could also reduce the woman's hormone levels secreted in response to stress, such as cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).

Psychological benefits of breastfeeding is to facilitate the strength of attachment between mother and child.

The against-indications to breastfeeding are rare. In fact, breastfeeding is not recommended against in the case of infants with congenital galactosemia and mothers living with HIV in the country industrialized. And for mothers who consume illegal drugs or are alcohol abuse, should conduct an individual assessment to determine whether they can breastfeed.

"If the mothers and families were encouraged to breastfeed, many lives could be saved," says WHO, especially in developing countries where drinking water is scarce. A bottle made with non-potable water may be the transmitter of waterborne diseases and be very harmful even deadly for an infant.

Breastfeeding and work:
WHO recommends that any mother who has just given birth at least 16 weeks of maternity leave so that she can rest and nurse her child. Many mothers who return to work abandon exclusive breastfeeding before the elapsed period of six months recommended because they do not have enough time or a place to breastfeed or take and keep the milk on their workplace. Mothers should have access, at their workplace or nearby to a clean and intimate to continue to breastfeed.

Introduction of new foods:
When the child reaches the age of six months, in order to meet their needs, introduce new foods.
1.  WHO recommends: not to reduce the number of feedings
2.  Food with spoon or cup and also advice not for bottle-feeding,
3.  Foods which have every guarantee of hygiene and that can be obtained locally,
4. Allow sufficient time for children to learn to eat solid foods.