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Benefits of Breastfeeding (Nursing)

by Jacquelyn McMillian-Bohler

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    00:01 Now let's talk about the benefits of breastfeeding.

    00:04 Why do we do it? Because this is work.

    00:06 It's good work, but it's still work.

    00:08 So why do we do it? Well, there are lots of reasons.

    00:12 One is because there are benefits for the infant.

    00:14 There are also benefits for the birthing person.

    00:17 They're actually benefits for the family, and benefits for society.

    00:22 Let's break down each one.

    00:24 So let's think about colostrum.

    00:26 So remember, colostrum is that liquid gold that's produced at the very beginning.

    00:30 And this helps to defend against all types of infection, there are actually antibodies there that actually really are protective.

    00:36 So that's important.

    00:38 It's also very high in protein, like a really great protein shake.

    00:44 Actually, now that I think about it is kind of thick, like a protein shake too.

    00:48 How about that, it also offers immunity.

    00:51 So again, those antibodies that are in there are going to fight off both bacteria, and also viruses which can be really important.

    01:01 As we get to day 4 and we begin that production of mature milk, there also benefits of that.

    01:07 Mature milk is easy to digest.

    01:09 So sometimes when we use formula that it really takes a lot of work for that little baby's stomach to digest all of that.

    01:17 But breast milk is very easy to digest.

    01:20 It still has antibodies that protect against common childhood illnesses and infection, and it also decreases the risk of sudden infant death.

    01:29 So these are benefits of mature milk.

    01:32 When we think about the act of breastfeeding and mature milk formation, it assists with dental and facial development, the actual work of actually suckling on the breast makes a difference here.

    01:44 It also increases mental development.

    01:47 We don't quite know the reason for this, we know that it's true, we just don't have the data that gives us all the details about how.

    01:54 It also reduces the risk of developing allergies in the future.

    01:58 So by not giving the baby anything that comes from the outside, we can decrease the chances they'll be allergic to foods as they begin to eat.

    02:08 But wait, there are even more benefits for the infant for breastfeeding.

    02:12 When we think about decreasing morbidity and mortality from infections.

    02:17 Let's look at all the places I'm talking about.

    02:19 We're talking about decreased risk of infection in the respiratory system, in the gastrointestinal system, in the urinary system, in the ear, think about all those infections, those ear infections, we can decrease from breastfeeding, and also generalized sepsis.

    02:36 So there are so many benefits that are there for the infant from breastfeeding, or chest feeding, or nursing.

    02:45 So when we think about overall, we put all this together.

    02:48 Everything the baby needs, every nutrient, everything is actually already in the breast milk.

    02:55 When we think about formula, they have to study it and figure out what the baby needs, but the body already knows.

    03:02 And if the baby's born early, the body adjusts and gives the baby everything it needs when we have a preemie.

    03:08 And it's also really hard to overfeed a baby.

    03:11 When we have an unlimited supply of formula, we can just keep giving it to the baby.

    03:15 But remember, supply and demand is how breastfeeding works.

    03:19 So there's really almost no risk of over feeding the baby when we breastfeed.

    03:23 That's pretty cool.

    03:25 Speaking of preemies, let's break down the benefits for them.

    03:29 So there are several.

    03:31 The first one we'll talk about is decreasing necrotizing enterocolitis.

    03:35 That's really a fancy way to describe an infection in the intestines.

    03:40 This also offers protection against chronic lung disease.

    03:43 So any kind of infection that may happen within the respiratory tract is going to be prevented at least to some extent by breastfeeding.

    03:51 Decrease retinopathy of prematurity can also happen.

    03:56 Think about the protection against infection.

    03:59 Do you remember back in our newborn complication lectures, we talked about how the babies are not good multitaskers.

    04:04 And if we get an infection, then it makes it hard for the baby to breathe.

    04:08 It makes it hard for them to stay warm and regulate glucose.

    04:12 So the fact that we can help decrease the infection rates within the baby is a big deal when you're a preemie.

    04:19 Also, the baby's better able to tolerate feedings.

    04:22 This is true for the term infant, definitely true for the preemie.

    04:26 And again, remember our goal is to make life for the premie easy so they can focus full time on growing so they can go home.

    04:34 And if they're ready to go home, then they can be discharged sooner, which is better for everybody better for the baby, better for the family, better for everybody.

    04:44 When we think about neurologic development, we know that there's something in the breast milk.

    04:49 So there are some long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that help the baby's brain to develop.

    04:55 And we find that when babies are breastfed, they have more of them.

    04:59 And so that's helps with neurologic development.

    05:03 The benefits for breastfeeding are not just immediate and short term, there are also long term benefits.

    05:10 So there's a protection against autoimmune disorders, for example, Type 1 diabetes or inflammatory disease.

    05:17 There's also protection against some childhood leukemias, especially the longer the client breastfeeds.

    05:24 So think about the WHO's recommendation up to 2 years, that begins to start to feel like maybe something we might want to encourage.

    05:32 Also, in terms of growth and development, we have a decrease in prevalence of Type 2 diabetes, because we have a baby that's more likely to be of normal weight and/or healthy weight.

    05:46 We also have situations where we have an improvement and the development of the mouth and the jaws.

    05:51 So we have a decreased risk of dental malocclusion and cavities.

    05:56 So breastfeeding actually helps with that too.

    06:01 The benefits of breastfeeding are not just for the baby.

    06:04 The birthing person actually also gets benefits.

    06:08 So I gave you a hint about this next one I'm going to talk about at the beginning of the lecture.

    06:12 There was this hormone that's released.

    06:15 And if you remember, it's also associated with uterine contractions.

    06:20 Oxytocin, you got it.

    06:22 So when the baby suckles and oxytocin is released, then it also causes uterine contractions.

    06:28 And why is that important postpartum? Because when the uterus is contracted, we decrease bleeding, so it decreases the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.

    06:37 That's definitely a benefit.

    06:39 Also, breastfeeding delays ovulation, so it can help with child spacing.

    06:44 So at least for the first six months, if we're exclusively breastfeeding, which is the recommendation from both the WHO and the American Academy of Pediatrics, then it's less likely the client is going to experience ovulation, which is a good thing for some people.

    07:01 There are also long term benefits for the birthing person, there's a decreased risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancers, specifically endometrial cancer.

    07:11 There's also a decreased risk of central obesity and metabolic syndrome.

    07:16 Now, this is related to the fact that someone who breastfeeds is least likely to gain weight postpartum, and it increased risk of weight gain is going to increase your chances of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

    07:30 Now, there are also benefits to the family.

    07:33 Remember, I told you I would tell you about it, so here it is.

    07:36 So specifically, the benefits to the family have a lot to do with financial costs.

    07:40 So when we weigh breastfeeding versus the cost of formula feeding, we find that breastfeeding is usually much, much less expensive, and in some cases almost free.

    07:51 When you think about all of the medical conditions that are decreased when someone's breastfeeding, then you know that the chances of needing to go to the hospital or to purchase medications or to receive treatment or therapies are also decreased.

    08:03 So this financial impact is pretty significant.

    08:08 There are some times when breast is not best.

    08:11 There are contraindications for breastfeeding.

    08:14 So let's talk about those now.

    08:16 The first one is HIV.

    08:18 Now I want to explain this a little bit more.

    08:21 If we're talking about birthing persons that are living in a developed country like the United States where we have an abundance of resources and medical care, then if that person is HIV positive, the recommendation is for them not to breastfeed.

    08:36 However, if they live in a country that is less well resourced, and their issues with water, and things like that, then breast is still going to be the best choice and the healthiest choice for that baby.

    08:47 Mothers or birthing persons with human T-cell lymphotropic virus Type l or Type ll, they will also be recommended to avoid breastfeeding.

    08:57 Things that could be transmitted to the fetus infections like herpes that might be on the breast tissue, then that would represent a time when we would not recommend breastfeeding, for risk of transferring that to the baby.

    09:11 If the birthing person is being treated for substance misuse, and they're on Methadone, Subutex or Suboxone and they're in a treatment program, then it is absolutely okay for them to continue breastfeeding.

    09:23 However, if this is someone who is not in a treatment program, and we don't really have any way to track their health or treatment, then the recommendation would be for them to avoid breastfeeding.

    09:33 Now we don't really understand the full impact and the use of THC and CBD.

    09:38 So we want to be really careful about recommending or not recommending breastfeeding.

    09:42 We want to talk to the birthing person and their family about this so they can make the best decision for them.

    09:48 Also infants with type 1 galactosemia, there may be some issues with the ability of the baby to address and to digest the milk and so that might be a time when it is contraindicated.

    10:01 Now they're going to be some instances where we might not recommend direct breastfeeding.

    10:06 So we wouldn't put the baby to the breast, but we could pump the breast milk and still allow the baby to get the breast milk.

    10:13 So they would get all those benefits minus actually suckling the breast.

    10:17 So in the cases where the birthing person has an active untreated tuberculosis or varicella, then we would separate the birthing person from the baby.

    10:27 And then we would still offer breast milk through pumping.

    10:30 So it's still work in that case.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Benefits of Breastfeeding (Nursing) by Jacquelyn McMillian-Bohler is from the course Newborn Nutrition (Nursing).


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Infants
    2. Birthing person
    3. Society
    4. The government
    1. Defends against infection
    2. High in protein
    3. Immunity against viruses
    4. Immunity against bacteria
    5. High in fat
    1. Assists with dental development
    2. Assists with facial development
    3. Increases mental development
    4. Reduces the risk of developing allergies
    5. Assists with eye hand coordination
    1. Decreased prevalence of obesity
    2. Protection against type 1 diabetes
    3. Decreased risk for childhood leukemia
    4. Increased risk of obesity
    5. Protection against type 2 diabetes
    1. Decreased risk of breast cancer
    2. Decreased risk of ovarian cancer
    3. Decreased risk of obesity
    4. Decreased risk of HPV

    Author of lecture Benefits of Breastfeeding (Nursing)

     Jacquelyn McMillian-Bohler

    Jacquelyn McMillian-Bohler


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