Extensive research using improved epidemiologic methods and modern laboratory techniques documents diverse and compelling advantages for infants, mothers, families, and society from breastfeeding and use of human milk for infant feeding.
These advantages include health, nutritional, immunologic, developmental, psychologic, social, economic, and environmental benefits. In 1997, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published the policy statement Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk.
Since then, significant advances in science and clinical medicine have occurred. This revision cites substantial new research on the importance of breastfeeding and sets forth principles to guide pediatricians and other health care professionals in assisting women and children in the initiation and maintenance of breastfeeding."
"Child Health Benefits
Human milk is species-specific, and all substitute feeding preparations differ markedly from it, making human milk uniquely superior for infant feeding. Exclusive breastfeeding is the reference or normative model against which all alternative feeding methods must be measured with regard to growth, health, development, and all other short- and long-term outcomes. In addition, human milk-fed premature infants receive significant benefits with respect to host protection and improved developmental outcomes compared with formula-fed premature infants. From studies in preterm and term infants, the following outcomes have been documented.
Research in developed and developing countries of the world, including middle-class populations in developed countries, provides strong evidence that human milk feeding decreases the incidence and/or severity of a wide range of infectious diseases including bacterial meningitis, bacteremia, diarrhea, respiratory tract infection, necrotizing enterocolitis, otitis media, urinary tract infection, and late-onset sepsis in preterm infants. In addition, postneonatal infant mortality rates in the United States are reduced by 21% in breastfed infants.
Other Health Outcomes
Some studies suggest decreased rates of sudden infant death syndrome in the first year of life and reduction in incidence of insulin-dependent (type 1) and non–insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes mellitus, lymphoma, leukemia, and Hodgkin disease, overweight and obesity, hypercholesterolemia, and asthma in older children and adults who were breastfed, compared with individuals who were not breastfed. Additional research in this area is warranted.
Breastfeeding has been associated with slightly enhanced performance on tests of cognitive development. Breastfeeding during a painful procedure such as a heel-stick for newborn screening provides analgesia to infants."
Analgesia = pain relief! How amazing is that? After reading that I was just even more in love with breastfeeding. This article is written for pediatricians and I'm sure most all pediatricians have read it. Then why do they not encourage mothers to breastfeed while their babies are getting their heel pricks and other painful procedures in the hospital? Probably out of inconvenience. That's bothersome. If we, as mothers, are informed we can request, and demand, this if necessary. Maybe it will be commonplace and more accepted in health care.
Jude has his two-month appointment last week. Which means.... shots. Ugh. Many mothers dread this because it's so hard to see our babies so distraught. After reading this article, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed while he was getting his shots. I wasn't sure how that would be accepted by the staff, but I was already prepared to do it and defend my rights if necessary.
The doctor left and said the nurse would be in soon to give him his shots. I decided to just start breastfeeding and that way I would already be doing it when she came in. She came in and was totally understanding. She had no opposition to it and was willing to do whatever I thought would help Jude. He was contently eating when she started her first of the five shots. FIVE. Separate. Shots. He let out a blood-curdling scream and was so red in the face I thought he might burst. I had to pat him a little bit to get him to breathe again and he was pretty worked up for a couple minutes. Once he calmed down, I was right there to breastfeed him and any mother knows nothing makes a baby happier or more content than that. I know he certainly still felt pain but I think it was, if nothing else, comforting for him to be able to nurse as soon as he was calm enough too and feel that safety in mother's arms.
|Five shots. Five bandaids. Yuck.|
I know sometimes mothers can not breastfeed or try their hardest and have to stop. My point in this is for us to be informed and to try our hardest to breastfeed as long as possible and not stop for convenience purposes, lack of knowledge, or just because we have reached our year mark.