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This research, therefore, targets at examining the human development elements attributed to both breastfeeding and feeding formulas for children, health benefits, growth, mental development, among other factors. The research is organized into sections inclusive of the Introduction, the background, the literature review, discussion, hints and conclusions. Each of these sections discusses relevant information about each breastfeeding and formula feeds.
Human Development: Breastfeeding versus Formula Feeding
Infants lack the mechanism of digesting complicated ingredients and thus suckle milk and, at elder ages, are supplied with semi-solid foods that are easily digestible. One of the common types of feeding the children is through breastfeeding, additionally referred to as nursing of the children. Breastfeeding is the form through which children suckle with milk from their mother's breasts. However, not all the mothers are available at all times to nurse their children, and this calls for alternative forms of feeding for the infants. The most common alternative is the use of feeding formulas for the children such as compatible balanced nutrition drink, and complete liquid nutrition is used to feed these infants. Various authors question the nutritional value and health impacts of the feeding formulas, suggesting that children should breastfeed continuously for at least six months before the introduction of alternative meals (Feeding, 2017). This research, therefore, aims at examining the human development factors attributed to both breastfeeding and feeding formulas for children, health benefits, growth, mental development, among other factors. The research will utilize various study conducted by different authors to derive conclusions and recommendations.
The issue of breastfeeding is one of the essential components that define the human development. Children develop from the infant stages where they can only suckle milk and grow into complex beings to eat by themselves. However, the process is long, and the infancy stage is the most critical phase of cognitive and mental development.
Many people believe that breastfeeding is the primary source of meals for infants less than six months old. The belief has led to many women breastfeeding their infants even without knowing the benefits attributed to the children lactating. Most of the mothers allowing their children to lactate even at later ages claimed that breastfeeding improves the mental development of children, helps the infants to bond and interact appropriately with their mother and otherwise enhances the Intelligent Quotient of the children. According to Feeding, (2017), about 98% of mothers bearing children breastfeed them at least once in their lifetime.
However, other mothers tend to use the formula feeds as an alternative to breastfeeding. According to Feeding, (2017), the arguments to using the other options to breastfeeding is that the mother lacks enough milk, work-related schedules, societal beliefs, beauty reasons, among others. It is important to note that other mothers opt for a combined state of mixed feeding where the infants breastfeed while taking the formula feeds when the mother is unavailable for them to lactate. The combined feeding approach is also an alternative to breastfeeding especially if the infant is above four months of age.
Martin, Ling, and Blackburn, (2016) suggest that the best source of nutrition for infants is the mother's breast milk. The authors point out that the mother's milk contains various nutritional benefits to infants, which are inclusive of immune ontogeny, modulation of postnatal intestinal functions, healthy development of children and brain development. The research undertaken by these individuals targeted the understanding the composition of human breast milk and why it is essential to the infants. The study discovered that human breast milk contains 3.8% fat, 7% lactose, 87% water and 1.0% protein. However, the composition is dynamic, and it changes based on the adaptive nature of the infants as they grow. The research also studied the structure of infant formulas and their usage globally. These alternatives to human breast milk are of different forms inclusive cow milk-based formula, specialized formula, and soy-based formula. These classes vary in calories, costs, digestion and nutritional value. According to the study conducted by Martin, Ling, and Blackburn, (2016), the results indicated that the nutritional value in human breast milk surpasses the other forms of infant formulas by far. Significant information was obtained to support that human Brest milk is most efficient in growth and development of the infants, especially since it is rich in antibodies and provides the first source of adaptive immunity within the intestinal tract of the newborn (Martin, Ling, & Blackburn, 2016).
A study conducted by O'Sullivan, Farver, and Smilowitz, (2015) supports the findings of the previous research claiming that the alternative forms of infant feeding have potentially negative impacts on the maternal and infant health. The study suggests that human beings are born immature, and breast milk contains significant concentrations of proteins that are important in the immune system, neurological development, and gastrointestinal system. The study indicates that a systematic review of 400 individuals provided considerable information to suggest that breastfeeding is relevant to infants. The report submitted that the risk of acute ear infections, atopic dermatitis, asthma, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, obesity, sudden infant death, respiratory tract diseases, childhood leukemia, among other conditions reduces with constant breastfeeding of children (O'Sullivan, Farver, & Smilowitz, 2015). The research, however, examined some factors that may affect successful breastfeeding habits that lead to the use of formula meals for the children. One of the factors noted by the researchers was the mother-infant contact, suckling, and latching. According to O'Sullivan, Farver, and Smilowitz, (2015), reduced contact between the mother and the infant may reduce the production of milk, thus a barrier to successful breastfeeding. Similarly, hospital practices that segregate the mother and the infant and other interventions on the child that may hinder suckling and latching of children have adverse effects on production of milk. The health results are inclusive of loss of weight and jaundice, which leads the mothers to utilize the alternative feeding forms for the kids to be healthy.
Zhang, Tang, Wang, Qiu, Binns, and Lee, (2015), conducted a study on why mothers in China opt for Formula Feeds as opposed to breastfeeding. The study incorporated the perception of both the mothers and staff of hospitals to describe the underlying factors of the observation. A total of 33 hospital staff members were among the participants of the interview process, which lasted for not more than 45 minutes. The number of mothers who took part in the interview process within the study was a total of 50, whose ages ranged between 21 to 46 years. Information from the interview process revealed that 74% of the mothers had an insufficient supply of breast milk, 20% felt the need for the use of formula feeds for growth and development of the children, and 54% suggesting that the method supplies more nutritious compared to breast milk. 18% of the mothers lacking the understanding of benefits attributed to breastfeeding, while 16% of the participating mothers were the grandmothers of the infants, and they would not breastfeed the child. The hospital staff pointed out that return to work is one of the critical factors that probe the need for feeding infants with formula feeds. Moreover, the staff members claimed that culture and beliefs in the Chinees are another factors which affect the breastfeeding preferences. According to Zhang et al., (2015), most of the mothers received the suggestion of using the Formula Feeds from either their friends or the mother-in-law claiming that breastfeeding is not as nutritious as opposed to their alternatives. Therefore, the study identified that return to employment, family and societal influence, lack of understanding of the benefits of breastfeeding to children, and insufficient supply of milk are among the reasons for the high use of formula feeds for infants in China.
De Zegher, Sebastiani, Diaz, Gómez-Roig, López-Bermejo, and Ibáñez, (2013) conducted a study in the University Hospital to determine the effects of nutrition in early life as provided by both formula feeds and breastfeeding. The study examined these impacts based on endocrine makers in the late infancy and weight partitioning of the infants. The research took into consideration the adiponectin, fasting glycemia, high molecular weight, and insulin compositions for infants aged between 4 and 12 months for both breastfeeding and formula feeding for the children. The authors found out that children who breastfeed for more than six months continually and breastfeed up to at least two years of age have proper body weight and have better health outcomes compared to those who take formula feeds. However, the study faced a weakness in the number of participants who engage in the research.
Clark, Li, Zhu, Liang, Shao, Zhang, and Lozoff, (2017) undertook a study to investigate the link existing between the iron status of children aged nine months and breastfeeding. Infants from China, specifically Hebei and Zhejiang were the participants of the study and iron sufficiency, deficiency and iron deficiency anemia were determined. Also, the mode of feeding, either breastfeeding, formula feed or mixed feed approaches were critical factors considered in the research. The results of the investigation pointed out that the infants who were lactating from their mothers had higher Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) compared to those children taking formula feeds. Similarly, the rate of IDA in the infants receiving mixed feeds was higher compared to the formula feeds in isolation. According to Clark et al., (2017), the benefits of breastfeeding to infants is indisputable, but lactating in later infancy has attributed risks of IDA.
Disputing results are displayed from a study undertaken by Walfisch, Sermer, Cressman, and Koren, (2013) whose aim was to identify the link between the cognitive development of children breastfeeding of the infants. The research was a systematic review engaging with 84 studies that met the inclusion criteria of the investigation. The authors found out that breastfeeding of infants in since birth continually for not less than six months directly affects the baring and cognitive development of children. According to Walfisch, Sermer, Cressman, and Koren, (2013), most of the reviewed literature indicate that breast milk contains essential nutrients that are dynamically changed depending on the lactating habits of the infant and their ages. These dynamics cannot be mimicked by the formula feeds and thus isolating breastfeeding as the most appropriate form of ensuring proper and healthy cognitive and mental development. However, the authors suggest that formula supplies contain the essential nutrients, but are not as efficient as those from breast milk.
Isaacs, Fischl, Quinn, Chong, Gadian, and Lucas, (2010) supports the above findings by the arguments on the impact of breast milk on the brain size, white matter development, and IQ. The study hypothesized that breast milk mediates cognitive effects and hence affect the growth of the brain. The research utilized a total of 50 adolescents in a randomized trial examination to determine the impact of breastfeeding and early infant nutrition in their health and development of the brain. The results obtained in the study indicated that breast milk intake at infancy has positive effects in later IQ of the adolescents and the volume of the brain. Similarly, breast milk had more impact on the white brain matter than on the grey brain matter, more evident in boys. The findings of Isaacs et al., (2010) suggest that breast milk promotes the development of the brain from infancy as the child grows. The IQ is directly related to the White Brain Matter, thus indicating that breast milk improves the IQ of infants in their later ages. Moreover, cognitive development is attributed to growing IQ and hence infants that lactate from their mothers has better cognitive development.
Iacovou and Sevilla, (2012) undertook a study aimed at examining the relationship existing between the academic and cognitive development of infants and the feeding habits of the infants. The study utilized a variety of methods and reviewed a sample of 10,419 children from a cohort study for children born in the year 1990 from Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. The investigation revealed that infants who breastfeed on scheduled timelines had favorable measures in reduced depression and proper wellbeing. However, for the demand-fed infants, they were found to be more academically fit compared to the schedule-fed infants. As a result, Iacovou, and Sevilla, (2012) concluded that infants fed on a schedule benefit from having a proper wellbeing, but the demand-fed infants benefited with appropriate academic outcomes and proper cognitive development.
It is evident from the literature sources that breastfeeding and formula feeding has both negative and positive impacts. For the mothers who are unavailable to feed their kids due to technical challenges, formula feeds are essential for the infants as they provide a significant amount of energy and most of the beneficial components of breast milk to the children. These formula feeds are relatively cheaper and have benefits to the children when breastmilk is not available. On the other hand, it is evident that breast milk from the mothers is essential in cognitive brain development, IQ improvement, and welfare of the kids. Breastfeeding is necessary and contains nutritious elements that are essential for the infants. Formula feeds can not mimic some of the features found in breast milk, and thus breast milk remains the most efficient mode of feeding the kids.
Mothers Should Breastfeed the Infants continuously for Six Months
The most appropriate and practical nursing for kids is breastfeeding the infants for about six months continuously without the introduction of alternative and supplementary meals to the child. Moreover, it is recommended that the infants should continue to lactate even after the six months are over, and the child is fed with additional meals. It is notable that demand-breastfeeding for the infants has better outcomes both academically and cognitively for these kids. In this regard, infants should be left to breastfeed and ingest the meals they need for proper growth and development.
Mothers who Work should use mixed-feeding habits for the infants
It is recommended that mothers who may be working or are advised by the doctors not to breastfeed the children for some time to use mixed feeding approaches whereby both breast milk and formula feeds are utilized for the children. The use of the two different forms of feeding is essential and provides the infant with the best of the two options. As such, the child remains healthy and robust while it develops physically, mentally and has brain development. However, the shortcoming of this method is that various diseases of the intestine are imminent to affect these infants. As such, it is not advisable to begin feeding the kids with formula until they are four months and above. However, due to some circumstances, the infants may be supplied with the method feeds at tender ages.
Nursing and Pregnant Ladies should be educated on the Importance of Breastfeeding
It is recommended that the ladies, both pregnant and those breastfeeding their children receive training on the benefits of breastfeeding for the children. It is apparent from the works that different mothers fail to breastfeed their children since they lack the knowledge on why it is essential for the infants to lactate. Educating the mothers will result in increased rate of breastfeeding for the children, which will thus improve the health outcomes, cognitive development, IQ Raise an increase in brain volume for the children in later ages. However, if the mothers lack enough milk, it is advisable to use formula feeds as an alternative but only if the child is more than four months old.
This research was aimed at examining the human development factors attributed to both breastfeeding and feeding formulas for children, health benefits, growth, mental development, among other factors. From the literature sources reviewed, it is evident that both breastfeeding and formula feeds essentially for child development and growth. The results depict that breastfeeding and formula feeding has both negative and positive impacts. For the mothers who are unavailable to feed their kids due to technical challenges, formula feeds are essential for the infants as they provide a significant amount of energy and most of the beneficial components of breast milk to the children. Most of the mothers allowing their children to lactate even at later ages claimed that breastfeeding improves the mental development of children, helps the infants to bond and interact appropriately with their mother and otherwise enhances the Intelligent Quotient of the children. It is evident that breast milk from the mothers is essential in cognitive brain development, IQ improvement, and welfare of the kids. On the other hand, the alternatives to breastfeeding are that the mother lacks enough milk, work-related schedules, societal beliefs, beauty reasons, among others. It is important to note that other mothers opt for a combined state of mixed feeding where the infants breastfeed while taking the formula feeds when the mother is unavailable for them to lactate. Conclusively, breastfeeding should be fully embraced by lactating mothers for proper growth and development for the infants.
Clark, K. M., Li, M., Zhu, B., Liang, F., Shao, J., Zhang, Y., ... & Lozoff, B. (2017). Breastfeeding, mixed, or formula feeding at nine months of age and the prevalence of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia in two cohorts of infants in China. The Journal of Pediatrics, 181, 56-61. From https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.10.041
De Zegher, F., Sebastiani, G., Diaz, M., Gómez-Roig, M. D., López-Bermejo, A., & Ibáñez, L. (2013). Breastfeeding vs. formula-feeding for infants born small-for-gestational-age: divergent effects on fat mass and on circulating IGF-I and high-molecular-weight adiponectin in late infancy. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 98(3), 1242-1247. From https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2012-3480
Feeding, B. (2017). Breastfeeding vs. formula feeding: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Medlineplus.gov. Retrieved 8 November 2017, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000803.htm
Isaacs, E. B., Fischl, B. R., Quinn, B. T., Chong, W. K., Gadian, D. G., & Lucas, A. (2010). Impact of breast milk on intelligence quotient, brain size, and white matter development. Pediatric research, 67(4), 357-362. From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2939272/pdf/nihms-198797.pdf
Iacovou, M., & Sevilla, A. (2012). Infant feeding: the effects of scheduled vs. on-demand feeding on mothers' well-being and children's cognitive development. The European Journal of Public Health, 23(1), 13-19. From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3553587/pdf/cks012.pdf
Martin, C. R., Ling, P. R., & Blackburn, G. L. (2016). Review of infant feeding: critical features of breast milk and infant formula. Nutrients, 8(5), 279. From http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/8/5/279/pdf
O'Sullivan, A., Farver, M., & Smilowitz, J. T. (2015). The influence of early infant-feeding practices on the intestinal microbiome and body composition in infants. Nutrition and metabolic insights, 8(Suppl 1), 1. From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4686345/pdf/nmi-suppl.1-2015-001.pdf
Walfisch, A., Sermer, C., Cressman, A., & Koren, G. (2013). Breast milk and cognitive development'the role of confounders: a systematic review. BMJ open, 3(8), e003259. From http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/3/8/e003259.full.pdf
Zhang, K., Tang, L., Wang, H., Qiu, L. Q., Binns, C. W., & Lee, A. H. (2015). Why do mothers of young infants choose to formula feed in China? Perceptions of mothers and hospital staff. International journal of environmental research and public health, 12(5), 4520-4532. From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4454923/pdf/ijerph-12-04520.pdf
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