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Breastfeeding improves child’s mental health: Study

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Perth, Australia, January 18 — A novel study has established that breastfeeding for a longer time can aid an infant’s mental health in the growing years. The research team led by Associate Professor Wendy Oddy at the University of Western Australia has found that breastfeeding for 6 or more months can reduce the risk of mental health problems that a child may face in his or her teens. The study showed that there were long lasting benefits from continued breastfeeding. Study of data on 2366. The research team examined the data of the Western Australia Pregnancy Cohort study in which 2,366 children were studied. All the children from the age of two to 14 underwent a mental health measurement. Researchers found that, out of the total children studied, 11 percent children were never breastfed, 38 percent were fed for less than 6 months and only about half of them were breastfed for 6 or more months. When the research team evaluated the reasons of the score, they came to a conclusion that the mothers who fed their babies for a lesser time were either less educated or poor or had more stressful lives. During the assessments,  the team established a connection between duration of breastfeeding and behaviour of the child.

They found out that with each successive month of breastfeeding, the behaviour score got better. The score remained constant when socio-economic conditions influencing parenting were considered. “Given the rising prevalence of mental health problems, interventions to assist mothers to breastfeed, and to breastfeed for longer, could be of long term benefit to the community,” said Oddy. But, on the contrary, he also added, “As with any of these types of studies, it should be stressed that the findings do not mean that individual children that weren’t breastfed will have mental health problems, it’s about lowering the risk at a population level.” Details of the study appear in the Journal of Pediatrics. Health and breastfeeding. Louise Bugeja, a midwifery coordinator from Parent Craft within Mater Dei Hospital, a public hospital in Msida, Malta, said, “Breast milk is nature’s way to nurture and protect babies to ensure survival.”She also added, “Breast milk was packed with antibodies and substances aimed at warding off diseases.” Apart from benefits to the breastfed children, breastfeeding also proves healthy for the mother, as it cuts back the rate of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, eczema, leukemia, asthma, and breast cancer in lactating mothers.

Breastfeeding has also been found to reduce the current obesity rate in children by slowing down the growth process. news from themedguru.com  –  Breastfeeding is the feeding of an infant or young child with breast milk directly from human breasts (i.e., via lactation) rather than from a baby bottle or other container. Babies have a sucking reflex that enables them to suck and swallow milk. Most mothers can breastfeed for six months or more, without the addition of infant formula or solid food. Human breast milk is the healthiest form of milk for human babies.There are few exceptions, such as when the mother is taking certain drugs or is infected with tuberculosis or HIV. Breastfeeding promotes health, helps to prevent disease and reduces health care and feeding costs. Artificial feeding is associated with more deaths from diarrhea in infants in both developing and developed countries. Experts agree that breastfeeding is beneficial, but may disagree about the length of breastfeeding that is most beneficial, and about the risks of using artificial formulas.Emphasizing the value of breastfeeding for both mothers and children, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both recommend exclusive breastfeeding

for the first six months of life and then supplemented breastfeeding for at least one year and up to two years or more. While recognizing the superiority of breastfeeding, regulating authorities also work to minimize the risks of artificial feeding.The acceptability of breastfeeding in public varies by culture and country. In Western culture, though most approve of breastfeeding, some mothers may be reluctant to do so out of fear of public opinion. Not all the properties of breast milk are understood, but its nutrient content is relatively stable. Breast milk is made from nutrients in the mother’s bloodstream and bodily stores. Breast milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein that is needed for a baby’s growth and development.  Because breastfeeding uses an average of 500 calories a day it helps the mother lose weight after giving birth. The composition of breast milk changes depending on how long the baby nurses at each session, as well as on the age of the child. The quality of a mother’s breast milk may be compromised by smoking, and drinking. Scientific research, such as the studies summarized in a 2007 review for the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)and a 2007 review for the WHO, has found many benefits to breastfeeding for the infant.


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