According to the World Health Organization, “breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development” (“Breastfeeding” par. 1). Breastfeeding has a lot of benefits for women and infants. Mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed their children in order to bring them up healthy but at the same time not to ignore immunization.
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The topic of breastfeeding is one of the most relevant topics related to public health nowadays. Although such influential health organizations as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the American Academy of Pediatrics emphasize that breastfeeding is the optimal choice for the infant nutrition, there is a tendency towards decreasing breastfeeding rates in the world. Kornides and Kitsantas underline that the rates of breastfeeding during the first few months of life are lower than expected among mothers in the United States of America (265). Breastfeeding is important because mother’s milk gives a child the healthy start that will have a significant impact on the child’s future life. Moreover, breastfeeding benefits society. For instance, the Office on Women’s Health states that breastfeeding saves lives (deaths among infants could be prevented) and money (medical care costs are lower) and it is good for the environment (no plastic waste) (“Why Breastfeeding is important?” par. 10).
The majority of health researchers recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first four to six months of infancy. Some health professionals insist that breastfeeding should continue as long and often as the child wants. Others state that breastfeeding does not act as a substitute for immunization, and immunization cannot be replaced by breastfeeding. The paper is aimed at highlighting the advantages of breastfeeding for both the mother and the baby with the focus on its influence on child’s immune system. The paper describes some essential nutrients found in breast milk. Further, breastfeeding is compared with immunization, and some conclusions are made.
The health benefits of breastfeeding are well-known. Victora et al. (2016) highlight key factors related to breastfeeding. Firstly, it is important to stress that breastfed infants are less likely to get infections, and the level of infant mortality is lower among breastfed infants. Moreover, breastfed children have fewer dental malocclusions and higher intelligence. Aune et al. argue that breastfeeding protects children from overweight and diabetes in future (114). Breast milk is the best option for infant nutrition because it contains a mixed variety of vitamins, minerals, and such useful biologically active components as lipids, proteins and others. Apart from this, mothers also benefit from breastfeeding. Mothers, who breastfeed their newborns, are less likely to suffer from breast cancer. Besides, breastfeeding can prevent diabetes and ovarian cancer.
However, as it is described by the Australian Breastfeeding Association, “breastfeeding alone does not provide sufficient immunity to childhood diseases, and parents need to seek appropriate guidance on immunization from their medical advisers” (“Media Statement” par. 3). It is worth mentioning that breastfeeding is not a substitute for immunization. Breastfeeding does not provide total immunity to an infant to some diseases and illnesses.
To sum up, it is important to understand that breastfeeding is essential during the first few months of infancy. Woman’s and baby’s health and wellbeing directly depend on it. There are some health benefits for both the mother and the child. It cannot be denied that human milk can help to reduce risks of some diseases and cancers for the child as well as the mother. Breast milk provides a wide variety of substances from which the baby’s immune system benefits. Nevertheless, it is necessary not to forget that although breastfeeding supports and develops an infant’s immune system, and a lot of immunity disorders can be avoided due to breast milk, it cannot replace immunization.
Aune, Dagfinn, et al. “Breastfeeding and the Maternal Risk of Type Two Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Dose–Response Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies.” Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, vol. 24, no. 2, 2014, pp. 107-115.
“Breastfeeding.” The World Health Organization, 2017. Web.
Kornides, Melanie, and Panagiota Kitsantas. “Evaluation of Breastfeeding Promotion, Support, and Knowledge of Benefits on Breastfeeding Outcomes.” Journal of Child Health Care, vol. 17, no. 3, 2013, pp. 264-273.
“Media Statement.” The Australian Breastfeeding Association, 2013. Web.
Victora, Cesar, et al. “Breastfeeding in the 21st Century: Epidemiology, Mechanisms, and Lifelong Effect.” The Lancet, vol. 387, no. 10017, 2016, pp. 475-490.
“Why Breastfeeding is important?” The Office on Women’s Health, 2014. Web.