Breastfeeding Essay Example

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Currently in my nursing practice I have to care for Jack; a two day old infant Jack and his mother; Jane. While attending to the two I noticed Jane was experiencing problems breastfeeding her child. Breastfeeding attachment was not occurring properly. On inspecting her nipples I found they were flattish, red and grazed. Due to the struggle she is going through Jack’s mother was starting to become apprehensive about breastfeeding. At some point she even seems to question the importance of breastfeeding her infant. This paper seeks to show why breastfeeding is important in both the mothers and Child wellbeing.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

According to Guise et al (2003), one of the main advantages of breastfeeding is that it is the natural and the default way of feeding babies. Every mother can breastfeed his young if there is no contraindication present. Any other mother should breastfeed her infant to ensure they grow up healthy. According to Lönnerdal (2010), the sticky, yellowish breast milk produced in the period immediately after the birth of an infant is the healthiest food for a newborn baby. This milk contains the appropriate balance of the main nutrients including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and minerals (Lönnerdal, 2010). Breast milk’s superior qualities come from the fact that it has more lipid than other alternative sources of nutrition. In comparison, cow milk has significantly lower quantities of lipids, with proteins being the dominant nutrient. The abundance of lipids in human milk is justified by the baby’s need for more lipids as they assist in rapid development of Brain Cells. On the other hand, breast milk is easier to digest than Cow or formula milk. Furthermore, Breast milk contains a greater balance of essential Amino acids than other alternative sources of nutrition for an infant (Lönnerdal, 2010).

Breastfeeding is also more advantageous than any other form of nutrition as it changes with the age of the baby. Furthermore, Breast milk is biologically engineered to fit one specific child. Furthermore, the nutritional make-up of breast milk keeps changing to keep up with the nutritional needs of the breastfeeding child as he/she grows (Cabrera-Rubio et al, 2012).

Another benefit of breastfeeding a newborn child is that they are able to develop stronger defenses against diseases and pathogens. Although it is well established that infants who are breastfed are less likely to contract infections, for a long time the reasons for this state of affairs were not known. Doctors had linked the prevalence of infection among babies who used alternative methods of feeding to the unhygienic nature of feeding infants on solid foods or formula milk. However, even the sterilization of formula milk did not stop these children from contracting meningitis, urinary tract infection and infections of the gut, ear and respiratory tract (Taylor et al, 2005).

The actual reason babies who are breastfed are healthier is that Breast milk offers protection from infections. According to Hettinga et al (2011), breast milk contains antibodies in the form of IgG, IgA, IgM, IgD and IgE. The makeup of these antibodies means they cannot be destroyed by the gastric acid and digestive enzymes. According to Lönnerdal (2010), infants take up to several months to start manufacturing the antibody lgAoh their own. Therefore, if a baby is not breastfed, his/her system faces ingested pathogens without the assistance of antibodies from her mother.

Furthermore, breast milk contains a number of helpful molecules that help to fight micro-organism in the Baby’s body. For example, Oligosaccharides intercept bacteria and form harmless complexes in the child’s stomach which is later excreted (Thurl et al, 2010). Other molecules found in breast milk that assist to protect a new born child include Mucins which also adhere to Bacteria. Lactoferrin on the other hand limits the availability of Iron meaning Bacteria cannot thrive in the infant’s body (Lönnerdal, 2010). Due to the action of Lactoferrin Children who are breastfed rarely come down with Staphylococcus Aureus a very serious infant illness (Thurl et al, 2010).

Breast milk has an abundance of white blood cells to assist the infant fight off infections. Colostrum contains a larger amount of white blood cells than any other alternative nutritional substance. In the First, few weeks of breastfeeding, Neutrophils are the most common type of Phagocytes in human milk, but they disappear from breast milk six weeks after its inception (Lönnerdal, 2010). Other white blood cells that are present in Human milk include macrophages.

Eudeknab and Schanler (2012) link breast milk with faster maturity of the infant immune system in comparison to those who are fed on other alternatives. Comparisons of how infant bodies react to immunization show that the bodies of infants who have undergone breastfeeding produced higher levels of antibodies than those who had been denied breast milk.

Other benefits of breastfeeding include: first, breastfeeding is more hygienic that other form of artificial feeding as the mother does not need to keep sterilizing her feeding equipment. Secondly, children who are breastfed are more intelligent and score higher IQ scores that their counterparts who were not breastfed (Eidelman and Feldman-Winter, 2005).

Role of Midwife in Promoting Health

As a midwife, the public health of the mother and infant is in your hands. It is the role of the midwife to promote the long-term wellbeing of an infant and the mother, as well as the infant’s family. According to Lee, Haynes and Garrod, (2012), the role of the midwife in postnatal care includes the provision of information and advice to mothers on how to eat and exercise well. In some cases, midwives may be needed to advise women on diet supplement such as folic acid. Secondly, Midwives should support breastfeeding women end such health threatening habits like smoking and alcoholism. Another important role of a Midwife in the life of a young mother is to ensure they have information on immunization.

According to Lee, Haynes and Garrod (2012), the wellbeing of an infant and mother is the personal responsibility of the attending midwife. Thus, it is important for the midwife to be able to influence young mothers to engage in breastfeeding. To play a greater part in the wellbeing of the young infant and mother, Midwife’s should research into major areas of their profession that need improvement. For example, midwives should be interested in research exploring the quality of breast milk so they can be able explain to mothers why breast milk is regarded as the best food for babies (Dopson and Fitzgerald, 2006).

Measure to improve Breast attachment

The use of visual aids is one of the most effective measures to help overcome the problem of breast attachment among young mothers (Page, Page, MacCandlish, 2006). In this case, Jane the young mother has problems suckling her two day old infant. This problem can be solved by offering and explaining the correct posture for appropriate breast attachment. Visual aids should clearly illustrate how the young mother can position herself and her son properly to ensure there is a good attachment between the child’s mouth and the nipple (Chantry et al, 2013).

Other than using visual aids, the attachment problem can be overcome by a partnership between the breastfeeding mother and the care provider. Midwives and other care providers have vast experiences and/or knowledge in dealing with breastfeeding problems (Morton, 2012). A Midwife should assist the young woman establish a proper attachments between his/her breast and the suckling child’s mouth. The midwife should emphasize on how proper attachment should be established while pointing out posture that lead to poor breast attachment. As a supportive midwife it is important to show a woman who has breast attachment problems that their child is not threatened by the complication. It is important to keep reminding these mothers that their problem is not unique and there are solutions to even more serious problems.

Other measures to enhance breast attachments include use of breast shields and cap. The breast shield gently suctions the inverted nipple onto the cap where attachment is easier (Morland‐Schultz and Hill, 2005). According to Wambach et al (2005), repeated use of breast shields can permanently correct the flat or inverted nipple problem. In this case, as a midwife you should advise Jane on selecting the best breast shield to enhance attachment. Wambach et al (2002) advises breastfeeding mothers with flat nipple’s to wear their shield all day for faster correction of the problem.

Breast creams could also help Jane improve breastfeeding attachment in a number of ways (Morland‐Schultz and Hill, 2005). First, Jane suffers from cracked and grazed breasts which would heal much faster with the application of the cream. This will greatly enhance Jane’s breastfeeding experience. Secondly, some creams cause the nipple to become erect temporarily thus facilitating easier nipple attachment. Use of some breast creams over time may permanently correct the flat nipple problem (Wambach et al, 2005). Morland‐Schultz and Hill (2005) suggest three types of breast creams that Jane can use to soothe her reddened nipples: either lanolin cream, antifungal creams or ointments and antibacterial ointments. With Lanolin only a small amount is applied after feeding; the nipple needs to be dried before application. The mother can continue applying lanolin cream long after the nipple problem has ceased as it helps the breast retain its internal moisture. However, antibacterial and antifungal creams should be applied after each feeding but only for a period of 3-4 days.


When caring for young mothers and their newborn babies it is important to ensure the young child is being effectively breastfed. A midwife should be aware and be able to explain the benefits of breastfeeding to young mothers. As discussed above, breastfeeding is the best method to nourish the new born child and protect her/him from infections. Where a proper breastfeeding attachment is prevented by flattish, grazed or irritated nipples the Midwife should step in with supportive measures to ensure the young infant is properly breastfed. Such measures include help establishing the correct positioning, advice and provision of breast shields and advice on the correct application of breast creams that can assist the young mother overcome the breast attachment problem.


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