InfantNutrition: Exclusive Breast Feeding
InfantNutrition: Exclusive Breast Feeding
Nutritionis an important topic because it concerns human beings in all stagesof their development. However, nutritional requirements differ in alldevelopmental stages. Infancy is a special developmental stage thatstarts from birth to 12 months, but some definitions extend it up to2 years (World Health Organization, 2014). Breastfeeding is one ofthe unequalled methods of infant feeding, which involves exclusivebreastfeeding from birth to six months, followed by breastfeedingwith appropriate supplemental foods up to at least the age of 2years. Exclusive breastfeeding refers to a feeding program in whichan infant feeds only on breast milk from birth to the age of sixmonths (Behr, 2014). This paper will address exclusive breastfeedingas the most important nutritional topic in the infant feedingprograms. The paper will focus on challenges of exclusivebreastfeeding, ways of making exclusive breastfeeding possible, andits benefits.
Althoughexclusive breastfeeding for the infants have been proven to be acritical aspect of infant feeding, there are three major challengesthat might deny some infants the benefits associated withbreastfeeding. First, the tight work and academic schedules among thebreast feeding mothers reduce the amount of time available for themto breastfeed their children (Kosak, 2013). Secondly, somebreastfeeding women fear the social stigma associated withbreastfeeding in some communities. Lastly, there are somephysiological constraints (such as HIV infection) that prevent themothers from breastfeeding their children. This means that some ofthe difficulties associated with exclusive breastfeeding can beovercome while others cannot.
Despitethe existence of several challenges that hinders successful exclusivebreastfeeding program, there are three strategies that can help thebreastfeeding mothers succeed in this program. First, civic educationamong the pregnant and the breastfeeding women on the importance ofbreastfeeding can give them the courage to overcome social obstacles,such as the fear of stigma (Behr, 2014). Secondly, mothers with tightworking schedules can breastfeed at nights and do the pumping duringthe day. Third, nutritionists and health care professionals can helpthe breastfeeding mothers establish support groups in order to ensurethat these women support one another in exclusive breastfeeding.
Althoughit is generally perceived that exclusive breastfeeding aims atboosting nutrition among the infants, it is evident that it benefitsboth the mother and the child. Exclusive breastfeeding improves theimmune system of the infant, which gives them a natural defenseagainst diseases. According to Behr (2014) infants who areexclusively breastfed heal quickly from infections (such as thecommon cold) and prevent them from becoming sick. Exclusivebreastfeeding benefit mothers in two major ways. First, study showsthat exclusive breastfeeding can protect the breastfeeding mothersfrom contracting ovarian as well as the breast cancers (Behr, 2014).Secondly, exclusive breastfeeding keeps the breastfeeding mother frompregnancy until they start weaning. In essence, exclusivebreastfeeding is crucial for both the infants and their mothers.
Inconclusion, exclusive breastfeeding is an important feedingnutritional program for infants aged six months and below. Althoughthe programs face several obstacles, civic education on theimportance of exclusive breastfeeding, proper planning among theworking mothers, and establishing support groups can result insuccessful exclusive breastfeeding program in the society. Exclusivebreastfeeding help the infants by improving their natural defense orimmunity against diseases. The breastfeeding mother benefits byavoiding breast and ovarian cancer as well as pregnancy during theperiod of exclusive breastfeeding.
Behr,T. (2014). Exclusivebreastfeeding.New York, NY: Childbirth International.
Kosak,J. (2013, October 14). Five challenges breastfeeding moms face whenreturning to work. TheHuffington Post.Retrieved October 15, 2014, from,http://www.qualitywriters.net/pa/projects/search-projects
WorldHealth Organization (2014). Exclusive breastfeeding. WHO.Retrieved October 15, 2014, fromhttp://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exclusive_breastfeeding/en/