Many professionals such as doctors, gynecologists, obstetricians, and pediatricians strongly believe that breastfeeding is necessary for infants and their parents. These practitioners offer a number of benefits such as good health and increased body immunity. Mothers should be aware of their health statuses and those of their babies in order to make appropriate breastfeeding decisions. This paper describes the benefits and issues surrounding breastfeeding.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Babies should be breastfed for at least six months after birth. Zhang et al. (2015) indicate clearly that breast milk is a source of nutrition for infants. This is true because breast milk supplies adequate fats, proteins, and vitamins to newborn babies. The second benefit is that it is easy to digest in comparison with baby formula. Another advantage of breastfeeding is that it improves the body’s immunity. Breast milk has adequate antibodies that help babies stay healthy.
The body of a breastfed baby will be protected from different microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. Binns, Lee, and Low (2016) acknowledge that the targeted babies will have reduced chances of getting allergies or asthma. Past research studies have proved that babies who breastfeed will have fewer respiratory and ear illnesses. Higher IQs are associated with children who breastfeed for over twelve months (Binns et al., 2016). It also lowers the risk of conditions such as obesity, cancers, diabetes, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Mothers who breastfeed their babies will lose weight after birth. The practice is known to catalyze the release of a compound known as hormone oxytocin. The compound is believed to minimize uterine bleeding and help the uterus to decrease (Binns et al., 2016). It also lowers the risks of different cancers of the ovaries and breasts. Finally, experts argue that breastfeeding is appropriate for relaxation.
Who Should Breastfed and Who Should Not?
Health practitioners and experts encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies continuously for over six months. Mothers who breastfeed their children minimize the risk of different diseases and complications. However, there are specific circumstances whereby mothers may not be encouraged to breastfeed their newborn babies. For example, infants who have been diagnosed with a condition known as galactosemia should not be breastfed (Zhang et al., 2015). This is a metabolic disorder that is inherited from generation A to B.
Mothers who have specific diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) should not breastfeed. Studies have revealed that breastfeeding can infect infants with the HIV virus (Zhang et al., 2015). Individuals who have active or untreated tuberculosis (TB) should also be discouraged from breastfeeding. Mothers who use illicit substances or have developed drug dependency should not breastfeed (Zhang et al., 2015). Another category to consider includes mothers who are taking medications or therapies for cancer. This is also the same case for mothers who have antiretroviral prescriptions. Mothers who have T-cell lymphotropic virus (Type II or I) should not be allowed to breastfeed.
This discussion shows that mothers who have given birth should liaise with their physicians in order to ensure the needs of their infants are met. They should also receive adequate breastfeeding tips after giving birth. Screening for the above diseases and conditions is necessary since mothers who should not breastfeed will be identified (Binns et al., 2016). Those who are taking TB medications can be allowed to breastfeed after healing completely. Mothers who have common colds, gastrointestinal infections, and influenza should follow proper precautions whenever breastfeeding their babies.
Binns, C., Lee, M., & Low, W. Y. (2016). The long-term public health benefits of breastfeeding. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, 28(1), 7-14. Web.
Zhang, K., Tang, L., Wang, H., Qiu, L., Binns, C., & Lee, A. (2015). Why do mothers of young infants choose to formula feed in China? Perceptions of mothers and hospital staff. Internal Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12, 4520-4532. Web.