Perceptions of Breastfeeding Essay

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Providing an infant with breast milk is one the most important physiological benefits a new mother can provide for her child and is described as the most valuable method of nurturing (Cleveland, 2000; Glass et al., 2010; Isaacson, 2006; Juliff, Downie & Rapley, 2007; Kloeblen-Tarver, Thompson & Miner, 2002; Okon, 2004; Simmie, 2006; Spear, 2007; Tarrant & Dodgson, 2007) however worldwide, barely one in every three children are exclusively breastfed during the first four months of their young lives (Hunt, 2007; Isaacson, 2006). The current recommendations by the World Health Organization (2011) are that women exclusively breastfeed their infants for a minimum of the first six months of life followed by the introduction of safe complementary …show more content…
As a healthcare provider, it is important to understand why breastfeeding rates have declined in the teenage population, what their experiences and attitudes are towards breastfeeding and how the health care provider can implement a leadership role into the key learning areas such as maternity wards, neonatal intensive care units and public/private school systems. By addressing any potential concerns with these key issues health care providers can promote early discussion, educate both parents and address any myths, new or old, before the media influences alternative feeding methods (Ineichen, Pierce & Lawrenson, 1997). Although there are adult mothers worldwide who choose not to breastfeed, for the purpose of this paper, just adolescent mothers will be discussed.
Benefits of Breastfeeding Breastfeeding has many benefits to both the mother and the baby. Breast milk provides an “ infant with amino acids & fats, conveys anti-infective properties, lowers the renal solute load, supplies enzymes to assist with digestion, and increases the bioavailability of nutrients” (Isaacson, 2006, p.77). Teenage mothers are at higher risk of having a premature infant which makes breastfeeding that much more beneficial for her child (Cunnington, 2000). According to Isaacson, breast milk may be more critical to the preterm infant because of the protective

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