Quick Reference

Nutritionally, breast milk is the most suitable food for human infants because it is the right composition to meet physiological and developmental needs; undergoes subtle changes in composition and content as infants develop; requires no preparation; and is usually available on demand in a healthy woman with normal breasts and nipples. Most nutritionists and pediatricians recommend breast feeding for 6 months. Fashions, fastidiousness about exposing breasts in public in modern urban society, and economic demands of employment may discourage breast feeding. Disincentives may arise from the blandishments of infant formula manufacturers who have sometimes used dubious advertising methods to promote their products and to imply that breast feeding is a sign of social inferiority, is unglamorous, and will damage a woman's figure. Advertisers do not mention the possible hazards of formulas, such as the risk of malnutrition and gastrointestinal infection. However, some diseases, including hepatitis B and HIV, can be transmitted from mother to infant by breast milk from an infected mother.

Subjects: Medicine and Health — Classical Studies.

Reference entries