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How does breastfeeding affect a babys physical development

Info: 1360 words (5 pages) Essay
Published: 1st Jan 2015 in Health

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Breastfeeding is deemed by many, as being the most important nourishment for a child. Breastfeeding provides a better and more balanced form of nutrition for the babies. Breast milk contains the accurate amount and quality of nutrients that perfectly lay within the baby’s primary dietary needs (Canadian Paediatric Society). To protect, promote, and keep the practice of breastfeeding alive the following research question is going to be looked at in depth throughout the report; how does breastfeeding affects and aids a baby’s physical development? There are countless physical benefits of breastfeeding for a baby. However the main focus of this report will be looking at the link to digestion, obesity, and dental health of the child.

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Breast milk is the best food for babies, the reason being is, it provides the exact combination of fats, protein, vitamins, minerals and enzymes required at various stages of growth of the new born (Kristen Burgess). Along with these features the most important part is that it is easily digestible for an infant (Leena Palande, 2010). A baby’s digestive system is immature and cow milk and other proteins found in formulas are heavy on the digestive system. Breast milk posses as a less load on the infant’s digestive system since a baby’s less developed digestive system requires highly absorbable nutrients. Human proteins are also more digestible as compared to the cow or other proteins that are found in the formula. Breast milk assists in proper maturity of the baby’s gastrointestinal tract; the stomach and the intestine as a functional unit (Jon Ahrendsen). Breast milk includes a particular protein called immunoglobulin, which operates like a defensive sealant in the digestive tract. Breast milk also possesses a unique substance known as epidermal growth factor (EGF). It encourages the development of the cells lining in the baby’s intestines in addition to other surface cells, for instance the cells of the skin. These are some of the qualities of the breast milk which aid to develop the baby’s digestive track in a health and a strong way.

Secondly, studies have found out that there is a reduced risk of being obese, among the breastfed children. Its best results were observed amongst teenagers, which show that the obesity-reducing effect of breastfeeding expands numerous years into a child’s life. One more research revealed that the threat of becoming overweight was decreased by four percent for every month of breastfeeding. This influence stables past nine months of breastfeeding. The protecting benefit of breastfeeding is possibly caused through a number of factors. Firstly, infant formula includes approximately twice the amount of protein per serving as breast milk. This surplus quantity of protein might motivate insulin discharge in an unhealthy way. Secondly, the biological reaction to breast milk is different from that of formula. When nourishing a baby, the mother’s milk encourages the baby’s liver to discharge a protein that aids to normalize metabolism (Breastfeeding Medicine). Feeding formula as an alternative to breast milk, multiplies the baby’s concentrations of insulin in a person’s blood, delays the insulin reaction, and even childhood is linked to the adverse concentrations of leptin, a hormone that slows down the hunger and restrains the body fat. Other than that premature introduction of solids (before 6 months) to the babies might also increase the danger of childhood obesity.

Lastly breastfeeding also has one of its significant impacts on the dental health of the baby. Studies have found out that breast milk contains high levels of protecting chemicals and manufactures comparatively little acid in the mouth. Amongst breastfed children, the longer the period of nursing the lower risk of malocclusion; an undesirable relative positioning of the upper and lower teeth when the jaw is closed. Breast-fed kids have an enhanced overall dental health. Ones Breastfed have comparatively well-built teeth which are in good shape as well. They hardly ever require orthodontic work; the region of dentistry worried about the avoidance and correction of irregularities of the teeth, for example braces. In general children who are breastfed possess better dental health than those of formula-fed children (Target Woman). The main reason behind this benefit is the nutrients included in the breast-milk as well as the exceptional sucking action requisite by the breastfeeding. This benefit has a very long term effect on the baby. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of tooth decay. There are fewer chances of cavities among the breastfed infants. One of the finest treatments for children’s tooth decay requires the mother to continue breastfeeding, at the same time enhancing her diet (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry). As the babies jaw muscles are energetically exercising while suckling, their steady pulling promotes the development of well-built jaws in addition to straight, healthy teeth. Suckling at the breast is great for a baby’s tooth and jaw growth (Leslie Burby). All of the above facts clearly prove that breastfed infants are to a benefit when it comes to having healthy teeth.

These were some of the thousands of significant influences of breastfeeding on a baby. It is very clear through the reports and studies that have been carried out throughout the world that breastfeeding does play an extremely important role; in the development of the digestive system, in reducing the risk of obesity and in providing a better dental health to the baby. Almost all of these affects do stay into a child’s life for a long period of time. These qualities are incredibly essential for a baby’s successful development. Although physical development of a child is such an extremely important topic, but still there is not a huge study done on this topic in particular. As the above research has been done through numerous different web sites, peer reviewed articles and books. It is highly suggested that there should be a much more firmed research done, from the perspective of the physical effects of breastfeeding on the child. In specific, as there are so many benefits of breastfeeding on the child, why not the government banned formula for the mothers who chose not to breastfeed their children.

Work sited

Davis, J N, Weigensberg, M J, Shaibi, G Q, Crespo, N E, Kelly, L A, Lane, C J, & Goran, M I (April 2007). Influence of breastfeeding on obesity and type 2 diabetes risk factors in Latino youth with a family history of type 2 diabetes.   Diabetes Care.

Canadian Paediatric Society , PS. (n.d.). breastfeeding. Retrieved fromhttp://www.cps.ca/caringforkids/pregnancybabies/Breastfeeding

Jon Ahrendsen, JA. (n.d.). advantages of breastfeeding. Retrieved from http://www.breastfeeding.com/all_about/all_about_more

Target Woman, TW. (n.d.). Benefits of breastfeeding. Retrieved from http://www.targetwoman.com/articles/benefits-breastfeeding.html

Kristen Burgess, KB. (n.d.). Why breastfeed my baby?. Retrieved from http://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/why-breastfeed.html

Leena Palande, LP. (2010, nov 18). Advantages of breastfeeding. Retrieved from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/advantages-of-breastfeeding.htm

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, AAPD. (n.d.). Breast milk andcavities.Retrievedfromhttp://www.curetoothdecay.com/Baby_Bottle_Tooth_Decay/breast_milk_cavities.htm

Leslie Burby, LB. (n.d.). 101 reasons to breastfeed. Retrieved from http://www.asnatureintended.info/breastfeeding.html

Evenhouse, E., & Reilly, S. (Dec 2005). Improved estimates of the benefits of breastfeeding using sibling comparisons to reduce selection bias.   Health Services Research. 

Breastfeeding Medicine (May 2010). Early childhood: breastfeeding, “solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation,” an excerpt from the white house task force on childhood obesity: report to the president. 


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