Early Childhood Nutrition
The most natural thing in the world is to want to give your child the best of everything. Nutrition should be at the very top of that list. Nature makes it very easy for mothers to provide their children with the best possible start. Breast feeding is the oldest and best form of nutrition for an infant. Before the 20th century it was considered life threatening to feed an infant anything but breast milk (Papalia et. al, 2008, p. 146).
Breastfeeding should begin immediately after birth and continue for at least the first year. The nutrients provided through a mother’s milk are known to prevent or at least minimize illnesses such as respiratory infections, diarrhea and middle ear infections. Breastfeeding has been shown to have long term affects on cardio vascular health and shows positive effects on neurological development and visual acuity. The possibility of preventing obesity, diabetes, lymphoma and leukemia in children are among the many benefits a child receives when they are breast fed (Papalia et. al, 2008, p. 147)..
Rebecca Williams’ (1995) report for the FDA states, “Breast-fed babies have fewer illnesses because human milk transfers to the infant a mother's antibodies to disease. About 80 percent of the cells in breast milk are macrophages, cells that kill bacteria, fungi and viruses. mothers produce antibodies to whatever disease is present in their environment, making their milk custom-designed to fight the diseases their babies are exposed to as well.”(Williams,(1995).
With so many benefits it is hard to understand why mothers would choose not to breastfeed their children. Unfortunately some mothers are forced back to work due to financial need and do not have the opportunity to spend those crucial first months at home with their children. Mothers do have the option of pumping their milk to insure that their children have the best possible nutrition during infancy.
As babies mature they will begin to eat solid...