Economics Essay

2713 WordsMar 30, 201311 Pages
PROLONGED BREASTFEEDING “FROM BIRTH TO 6 MONTHS” AS A BIRTH SPACING METHOD INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND In recent years, the importance of breastfeeding as a natural regulator of human fertility has gained more acceptance and encouraging results from preliminary studies have been reported. Birth spacing also known as contraception and fertility control refers to methods or devices used to prevent pregnancy. Planning and provision of birth control is called family planning. Despite the wide range of effective contraceptive options available to women in developed countries unintended pregnancies continue to occur in large numbers. Breastfeeding or lactation is one of the methods used for birth spacing by women who just gave birth. WHO defines breastfeeding as “the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development or an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants”. It is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Exclusive breastfeeding from birth is possible except for a few medical conditions and unrestricted exclusive breastfeeding results in ample milk production. From ancient times women have extended breastfeeding in an effort to avoid a new pregnancy. The lactational amenorrhea method or LAM outlines guidelines for determining the length of a woman's period of breastfeeding infertility. It has long been known that breastfeeding affects a

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