What are the Advantage and Disadvantage of Breastfeeding?

What is Breastfeeding?

Human breastfeeding is considered the best natural feeding and breast milk is the best milk. The basic food of an infant in a mother’s milk. It is the most efficacious way to provide a baby with a caring environment and complete food. Breast milk is the ideal food for babies up to the age of 6 months. Until 4 to 5 months after birth, no other food is required by the baby.
Importance of breastfeeding
Fig: Importance of breastfeeding

6 Advantages of Breast Feeding:  

The advantages of breastfeeding are as follows:

  1. Nutritive value,
  2. Digest ability,
  3. Protective value,
  4. Physiological benefits,
  5. Maternal benefits,
  6. Family and community benefits.

All the above key points have described in the following:

1. Nutritive Value:
It includes-

  • Breast milk contains all the nutrients in the right proportion which are needed for optimum growth and development of the baby up to 4 to 6 months.
  • It is crucial for the growing brain of the infant.
  • It facilitates the absorption of calcium which helps in bony growth.
  • It has vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and water in the right proportion for the infant which is necessary for the maturation of the intestinal tract.
  • It provides 66 calories per 100ml and contains 1.2gm protein, 3.8gm fat, and 7gms lactose.
  • It provides specific nutrition for preterm babies in preterm delivery.
 2. Digest ability:
It includes-
  • Breast milk is easily digestible.
  • The proteins of breast milk are mostly Lacto albumin and lactoglobulin which form a soft curd that is easy to digest.
  • During the digestion of fats, the enzyme lipase in breast milk helps and provides free fatty acids.

3. Protective Value:
It includes-

  • It protects against malaria and various viral and bacterial infections like skin infections, septicemia, etc.
  • Breastfeeding protects infants from allergies and bronchial asthma.
  • It protects against neonatal hypocalcemia, tetany, neonatal convulsions, etc.

4. Physiological Benefits:
It includes-

  • Breastfeeding flourishes close physical and emotional bondage with the mother by frequent skin-to-skin contact, attention, and interaction.
  • Breastfeeding flourishes the development of higher intelligence and a feeling of security in infants.

5. Maternal Benefits:
It includes-

  • Breastfeeding reduces the chance of postpartum hemorrhage and helps in better uterine involution.
  • Breastfeeding develops metabolic efficiency and satisfaction with a sense of fulfillment of the mother.
  • It reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer of the mother.
  • It is more convenient and time-saving for the other.

6. Family and Community Benefits:
It includes-

  • Breastfeeding is so economical in terms of saving time, money, and energy.
  • The family has to spend less on milk, health care, and illness.
  • Through breastfeeding, community expenditure on health care and contraception is reduced.
  • It is economic for families, communities, hospitals, and countries.

Disadvantages of Breast Feeding:

It includes-

  1. Lactation may not be adequate.
  2. Breastfeeding demands maternal proximity.
  3. Social life may be upset. This is applied principally to western civilizations.
  4. Breastfeeding increases the occurrence of problems such as cracked nipples and breast abscesses.

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