A child’s nutritional needs are so important and the parent’s ability to provide a healthy diet is vital to achieving good health. There are many benefits for both the child and the mother concerning breastfeeding. As an infant breast feeding is very important because of the many health benefits both the mother and the child receives. According to Papalia, Olds and Feldman, “Illnesses such as, diarrhea, repertory infections, middle ear infections, staphylococcal, bacterial, urinary tract infections, possible prevention of postnatal death and reduction of environmental toxins within the infants system can be prevented by breastfeeding. Healthcare providers also have found that breast feeding also benefits the mother in such ways as reducing postpartum bleeding, physical recovery time may be shortened, physical weight also returns within a shorter period of time”(Papalia, Olds, Feldman, 2008).
Not only could breastfeeding provide physical benefits but there are psychological benefits that are assumed to be correlated with breastfeeding as well. Studies have shown that bonding through breastfeeding may decrease child abuse and even encourage social interaction for the child in adulthood. Breastfeeding has been suggested by many healthcare providers to last a minimum of at least 6 months and if at all possible a longer period would be best in order to receive the best results for good health of the infant. The quality that human milk provides the infant is superior to the alternative a mother can choose such as formula. According toKathryn G. Dewey PhD, “In terms of protein content, human milk has a high ratio of whey to casein, a relatively high proportion of non-protein nitrogen, and high concentrations of certain specific proteins. Also, human milk is rich in some fatty acids essential for brain development and contains several non-lactose carbohydrates”.
However, for women who are not physically able to breastfeed, the alternative of using formula can also be used as a supplement for their child’s nutritional needs. The different formulas a mother can choose from are milk-based formulas, soy-based formulas and even iron-based formulas for children 4 months old or older. The book Personal Nutrition states, “Formula provides adequate nourishment for the infant, and a mother can choose this alternative in confidence” (Boyle, Long, 2006).
There are exceptions of when a mother should choose to use formulas in place of breastfeeding their infants. The American Association of Pediatrics has given a list of those exceptions on their website www.aap.org. These exceptions include such reasons as the infection of mother’s milk caused by HIV, mothers receiving chemotherapy, infants that are unable to tolerate milk because of metabolic disorders, and mother’s who are prescribed medications that can be transferred through milk.
An infant’s nutritional needs are vital to there to their overall development and a mother’s main concern should be in educating themselves on the best ways to provide a healthy diet for their child. Infancy is one of the most important stages of life to start providing healthy nourishment for the remainder of their lives. The best ways to achieve these goals are to become well educated about the nutritional and emotional needs of their child from infancy on into early adulthood.
Papalia, D., W. S, F. R.(2008)A Childs World Infancy Through Adolescence(11th Ed.)Boston:McGraw-Hill
Boyle, M., L.S. (2006). Personal Nutrition. Boston: Cengage Learning.