Nutrition across the Life Span

By Mary Kay Mitchell | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 10

LACTATION AND BREAST-FEEDING

Advantages of Breast-Feeding
Breast-Feeding Rates
Physiology of Lactation
Energy and Nutrient Needs of Lactating
Women
Dietary Recommendations for Lactating
Women
Breast-Feeding Basics
Contraindications to Breast-Feeding
Weaning
Promoting Breast-Feeding
Concepts to Remember


ADVANTAGES OF BREAST-FEEDING

What health advantages does breast-feeding provide to the infant?

What constituents in human milk help to provide health benefits for the infant?

What advantages does breast-feeding provide to the mother?

Breast-feeding is widely recognized as the optimal way i to nourish a human infant. Experts on infant feeding recommend breast-feeding for all term infants, citing nutritional, immunologic, hygienic, and emotional benefits

(American Dietetic Association, 1993; Institute of Medicine, 1991). In addition, breast-feeding mothers benefit both in the immediate postpartum period and later in life.

In developing countries breast-feeding may mean the difference between life and death for the infant. Breast‐ feeding greatly reduces the incidence of diarrheal illness, particularly in environments with contaminated water and poor sanitation. Additionally, breast-feeding reduces the risk of respiratory illness, meningitis, and other serious infections. Researchers have repeatedly documented that artificially fed infants are 3 to 5 times more likely to die than breast-fed infants (Cunningham, 1991).

Even in industrialized countries where the use of hygienic, scientifically formulated commercial substitutes

____________________
Contributed by Kathryn Witt.

-250-

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