Breastfeeding


Breastfeeding Infant Revealing Olfactory Bulb : The olfactory bulb in the brain (highlighted in the image) conveys chemical information about odors to the cerebral cortex. There is a strong relationship between memory and the emotional dimension of food. Memory is embodied, often recalled via the sensations of taste and smell. One major emotion that is constantly linked with food is that of love, particularly maternal love.

Breastfeeding is feeding of infants or young children with breast milk from human breasts (i.e. through lactation). The sucking reflex enables babies to suck and swallow milk instinctively. WHO, UNICEF and Save the Children recommend children be breastfed within one hour of birth, exclusively breastfed for the first six months, after which WHO recommends continued breastfeeding until age two together with age-appropriate, nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for the U.S. that after 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding, babies should continue to breastfeed "for a year and for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby". Inadequate nutrition is an underlying cause of the deaths of more than 2.6 million children and over 100,000 mothers every year. Some mothers express milk to be used while their child is being cared for by others by hand or by using a breast pump.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dietetic Association promote breastfeeding as the best source of infant nutrition". Breastmilk is easy for the baby to digest, which promotes the child eating more often due to faster digestion. It may decrease risk of diabetes and celiac disease. There are also controversial benefits of decreased risk for obesity in adulthood and improved cognitive development. Benefits for the mother include: helps in uterine shrinkage, decreases risk of breast cancer, decreases depression, and decreases risk of osteoporosis. It may also be a bonding experience for mother and child, and can be less expensive than infant formula.

Breastfeeding was the rule from ancient times up to recent human history, and babies were carried with the mother and fed as required. With 18th– and 19th–century industrialization in the Western world, mothers in many urban centers began dispensing with breastfeeding due to work requirements. Breastfeeding declined significantly from 1900 to 1960 due to negative social attitudes towards the practice and the development of infant formula. From the 1960s onwards, breastfeeding has experienced a revival which continues to the 2000s, though some negative attitudes towards the practice still remain.

Health authorities consider human breast milk the healthiest diet for babies, as opposed to infant formula. Breastfeeding promotes health of both mother and infant and helps prevent disease. There is consensus that breastfeeding is beneficial and concerns about the effects of artificial formulas. Artificial feeding is associated with more deaths from diarrhea in infants in both developing and developed countries. There are a few exceptions, such as when the mother is taking certain drugs, has active untreated tuberculosis or is infected with human T-lymphotropic virus. The World Health Organization recommends that national authorities in each country decide which infant feeding practice should be promoted and supported by their maternal and child health services to best avoid HIV infection transmission from a mother to child.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.