Should women breastfeed their children
Qistina & Nasrin
In this modern day, being new parents can be quite challenging. You always want the best for your child in every aspect and at the same time, you need to keep up with the challenges as an adult. From little things, such as what name that you will give to them, what kind of things that you have to buy for your child to bigger things like what to feed them and the most crucial question is what kind of milk to feed your baby with. Which one do you prefer? Feeding your baby with expensive formula milk or spending your precious time to breastfeed your beloved baby? Research suggests that breastfeeding is more beneficial for a mother and child because it is affordable, it lowers the rate of disease toward the babies and mothers and it affects the intelligence of babies.
First of all, every mother can afford to buy breastfeed their children financially regardless of their income. As we all know, the price of formula milk could be up to RM100 per can especially for the imported formula milk such as Friso Gold and Pediasure. Every parent wanted the best milk to feed their babies however not all parents can afford to buy the imported milk which is known to be the best milk for babies. Parents can opt to breastfeed their babies because breastmilk has more nutrition as compared to formula milk, even the most expensive formula milk does not have that much nutrition like breastmilk. If parents choose to breastfeed their babies, they could save almost RM2000 per year from purchasing the formula milk. Since breastmilk is self-produced, mothers do not need money to get the endless supply of food. This proves that breastfeeding is reasonably priced to every mother in the world.
In addition, breastfeeding could also decrease the rate of disease towards babies and mothers. The newborns can get passive immunity against several viruses and bacteria from breast milk. Breastfeeding has been estimated to prevent 13% of deaths to children under 5 years of age that live in a low-income country (Mathur & Dhingra, 2013 as cited in Byers, 2015). Besides, illness and infection can easily affect newborns and therefore they benefit greatly from passive immunity and probiotics that breast milk provides. The ability to be immune towards infections such as Escherichia coli and Shigella can be acquired through passive immunity by the infants from the mother’s immunity. (Davidson et al. 2012 as cited in Byers, 2015).
Another benefit that the lactating mother gains from breastfeeding is the nonpharmacological method of contraception while decreasing a woman’s risk for developing female cancers related to estrogen, proliferation of the uterus, ovaries, and breasts. Progesterone and progestin can reduce woman’s risk of developing endometrial, ovarian, and breast cancer by hindering or counteracting immoderate tissue production that is initiated by estrogen without suppressing the beneficial effects of estrogen. (Risch, 1998 as cited in Byers, 2015). According to medical researchers, Pechlivani and Vivilaki , results from research teams located in multiple countries worldwide (including the United States, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Israel, Norway, and China) have demonstrated an inverse correlation between the length of time that a woman breastfeeds and the risk of breast cancer (Davidson et al., 2012 as cited in Byers, 2015).
Last but not least, breastfeeding will give such great impacts to kids’ intelligence. Young children who breastfeed as infants scored higher on intelligence tests than formula-fed kids. The presence of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in breastmilk, inc docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are necessary for retinal and cortical brain development (Bernardo & Cesar, 2013). Breastfeeding is positively related to brain volume and it promotes structural changes in the brain (Bernardo & Cesar, 2013).
Breastfeeding has many potentials benefits towards autistic children in respect to neurological, cognitive and emotional development. Besides of health problems, autistic people will face problems that are related to the brain development such as cognitive and neurological problems. Therefore, the natural ingredients in the human milk which contain high concentrations of essential nutrition will enhance the health of the brain (LEAVEN, 2001). Apart from that, breastfeeding can enhance the emotional development among children through the close physical and emotional contact with the mother. Children will be more responsive and better-adjusted socially if they were breastfed (Jackson & Reznek, 1992 as cited in LEAVEN, 2001).
The longer babies breastfed, the more they will accomplish in their life. It was proven that those kids who breastfed were smarter, perform better at school and gained more than those who had not been. According to Dr. Bernado Lessa Horta from the Federal University of Pelotas, the prolonged breastfeeding not only enhances intelligence up to 30 years but also affect the kids both at individual and societal level through the improvement of educational attainment and earning ability (Boseley, S., 2015). World Health Organization also suggested exclusive breastfeeding which is for the first six months because it is justified by Dr. Horta that the babies will get lots of benefit from it (Boseley, S., 2015).
As a conclusion, it is vital for all women out there to understand the importance of breastfeeding and practice it to their children as it is cheaper than purchasing formula milk, it is beneficial towards both the babies and the mothers in terms of health and breastfeeding could also improve the children’s intelligence. It is time for every mother to give what is good and use what God has given to them naturally to their children because nothing is better than a mother’s choice.