The benefits of breast milk for infants

 

Breast feeding is the best source of nutrition for a healthy newborn.As long as the mother’s diet is balanced with breastfeeding1adequate essential vitamins and mineral, the breast milk produced for the infant will also contain sufficient nutrients without need of supplements. Additionally breast milk will convey beneficial immunological components not found in nonhuman milk sources. It also has psychological (bonding), social (developmental), economic and environmental benefits.

 

Breastmilk and Immunity

Breast-fed infants are far less prone to infections than bottle fed infants. However, this difference in newborn health goes far beyond the exirary dates and contaminated plastic bottles to the milk content itself. Breast milk contains beneficial immunologic components that store bought formulas do not. These immunologic components, or immunoglobulins within the mother’s milk convey passive immunity to the infant.

 

  • decreases cancer prevalence in infants and young children, such as leukemia

  • decreases upper respiratory infections

  • contains readily absorbable source of lactoferitin preventing anemia

  • necrotising enterocolitis does not occur in breast fed infants (no infection risk with breastmilk)

  • childhood obesity in higher in formula fed infants, as formula fed infants need to eat more to obtain essential nutrients, fats and proteins present in lower quantites within formulas

 

Breast milk components

  • IgA (immunoligic components)

  • Vitamin D, in breastmilk is in the aqueous portion of the milk even though it is a fat soluble vitamin

  • Vitamin Ababy-bw2

  • fibre

  • protein, fat, sugars

  • calcium, potassium, salts

American Academy of Pediatrics. Section on Breastfeeding Pediatrics. (2005). Policy Statement. Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. 115: (1) 496-506.

 Newman, Jack. 1995. How breastmilk protects Newborns. Scientific American. 273 (6) 76-79.

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