Sunday, September 29, 2019

Expository Essay †Breastfeeding Essay

As parents, our main goal is typically to raise happy, healthy children. Do you know the ultimate start to a child’s optimal health? The very first thing a mother can do for her child is something that will provide more health benefits than most parents know, all throughout their child’s life. This one decision that will give your child the best start in life is very simple; breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has numerous physical and psychological benefits that it provides an infant. These benefits are often greatly underestimated and under-emphasized. There are many details that go into enforcing the fact that breastfeeding has been proven to be the optimal nutrition for infants, and these details are crucial in encouraging mothers to do what is ultimately the best thing possible for their children. Because of the incredible physical and psychological benefits breastfeeding provides an infant, doctors and medical organizations around the world have declared breastfeeding as optimal nutrition for an infant. One important factor of breastfeeding is breast-milk is specifically formulated for each individual infant by each mother. The composition of breast-milk is constantly changing to meet the changing demands of an infant. Breast-milk contains the exact amount of nutrients and antibodies that each infant requires for good physical health. Moreover, breastfeeding has been proven to strengthen an infant’s immune system and prevent illnesses and infections, extending this protection throughout the child’s life. In addition, breastfeeding has also shown to provide many long-term psychological benefits to infants. Breastfeeding promotes a healthy bond between mother and child and helps to instill trust and security in the infant. Also, breastfeeding offers long lasting mental health benefits and has even been linked to some intellectual advantages. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, exclusively breastfeeding (relying only on breast-milk for nutrition and not supplementing with formula or solids) for the first six months of life will provide an infant with all the proper nutrition they need, while also providing the infant with antibodies and immunities. Breast-milk contains the right amounts of nutrients that infants need to thrive. Human breast-milk is made up of two types of proteins, whey and casein. Approximately 60% is whey and 40% is casein (â€Å"What’S In Breast Milk?†, 10/2011). The major concern with formula here is when it contains a higher amount of casein, causing it to be much more difficult to digest. Additionally, breast-milk contains fats that are important to an infant’s development, while also providing the right amount of carbohydrates, mainly, but not limited to, lactose. Lactose fights off unhealthy stomach bacteria while improving the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium (â€Å"What’S In Breast Milk?†, 10/2011). Breastfeeding provides an infant with all the nutrition the child will require the first six months of life. Breast-milk alone is enough for the infant to rely on in order to meet nutritional requirements. Equally important, a mother’s milk also contains the right amount of antibodies and immunities designed for the infant. Thanks to the proper nutrition provided combined with a healthy amount of antibodies and immunities, breastfeeding has been proven to prevent illnesses and fight off infections . A mother’s milk is specifically designed to meet all needs of the nursing infant. Breast-milk contains antibodies that are passed on to the infant that help to fight off infections and illnesses. Furthermore, a nursing infant also receives certain immunities from the breast-milk. These immunities are not only valuable in helping to fight off infections and prevent diseases, but also help the infant to better respond to immunizations the child will receive throughout the first few years of life. In conjunction, these antibodies and immunities are key to warding off infections as simple as ear infections to illnesses as severe as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and childhood cancers such as Leukemia. In the same way there are physical benefits from breastfeeding, there are also some psychological benefits as well. The bond and security between a mother and child is usually increased in a nursing infant than in a formula fed infant. The skin-to-skin contact offers infants a stronger emotional bond to their mothers and also enhances the bonding experience (â€Å"Breastfeeding Vs. Formula Feeding†, 01/2012). This has shown to lead to better emotional and mental stability. Breastfeeding and this skin-to-skin contact has proven to release the hormones ser otonin and oxytocin in both mother and child, which only encourages a stronger sense of security and trust, an important part of the emotional bond between a mother and her child. Breastfed children are also more protected from mental health and addiction problems that may occur later in life. Breastfeeding has also displayed a higher IQ score later in life in babies who were breastfed than in babies who were formula fed, especially those of premature infants (â€Å"Breastfeeding and IQ†, n.d.). Additionally, breastfeeding has shown to be the smoothest transition for a child from inside the womb to the outside world. By breastfeeding, the mother is offering the infant very important skin contact, which offers nourishment passed from the mother’s body to the infants, and this nourishment presents a sense of continuity from pre- to post-birth life. Thus, the infant is better able to understand that he is protected and that the mother is there to provide for his needs to adjust to the new world in which he is entering. Due to the unique bond breastfeeding enhances, it has been known to lower rates of infant abandonment. Another important fact about breastfeeding is its economic status. Not only is breast-milk readily available whenever it is needed, but it is also completely free of charge, not only to parents but to government as well. Moreover, breastfeeding also offers parents and government decreased healthcare costs. Many infants are formula fed when they could easily be breastfed. Unfortunately, many of these infants are born to parents who receive some form of government assistance. Alongside the health benefits breastfeeding offers, there are many economic benefits it offers as well, especially in regard to federally-funded programs assisting parents and infants. PhDInParenting (2009) found that, â€Å"In 2001, the USDA concluded that if breastfeeding rates were increased to 75 percent at birth and 50 percent at six months, it would lead to a national government savings of a minimum of $3.6 billion (and this only considered a few of the health benefits of breastfeeding, not all of them)†. Additionally, according to WIC (Women, Infants, Children), financially supporting a breastfeeding woman costs about 45% less than supporting a mother whose child is formula fed. Five hundred seventy-eight million federally-funded dollars is spent annually to support formula fed infants who could be breastfed with no complications. Due to the increased health benefits breastfeeding provides, it has proven to offer parents and government both decreased healthcare costs. Because it offers decreased health issues, breastfeeding ultimately saves money. It not only aids in preventing childhood infections and illnesses, but it also helps the mother with aiding in the prevention of many reproductive cancers, breast cancer, postpartum depression, and type 2 diabetes. Consequently, whether the parents have private health insurance or receive state aid, breastfeeding still saves money. Since breastfeeding increases the overall healthiness of a nursing infant, there are decreased healthcare costs because usually the nursing infant will not require as many visits to medical facilities as the non-nursing infant. Breastfeeding is also economically stimulating because breastfeeding mothers typically do not miss as many work days due to health related issues, whether they are concerning the mother or the infant. With that being said, it is clear that breastfeeding truly is optimal nutrition for infants. The benefits of breastfeeding are important factors in a child’s life, even excluding all the benefits breastfeeding provides the mother as well. It has been said time and time again, â€Å"breast is best†, and there is scientific reasoning behind that statement. With all the benefits infants receive, both physical and psychological, it is fairly cut and dry: the breast truly is the best. While formula is made to best mimic the nutritional value of breast-milk, it is still lacking in many aspects. Even more important, breastfeeding provides infants with psychological benefits that most medical professionals will argue formula just cannot give an infant. With the right resources and support system, many mothers can successfully breastfeed their infants. Unfortunately, a very small percentage will follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations concerning breastf eeding, which is why proper education on the physical and psychological benefits of breastfeeding are crucial in encouraging mothers to make the decision to give their child the gift of optimal nutrition.

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