Breastmilk Protects Babies Against Infections
Stating that the positive effects are seen not only in the feeding period but also in the later years of the children who take breast milk, Child Health and Diseases Specialist Dr. Lecturer Burçin Yorgancı Kale said, “In addition to the numerous benefits of breast milk, it is known that it also protects babies against infections. Antibodies in breast milk have an anti-infective effect on many bacteria, viruses and fungi. It has been shown that it contains molecules with protective properties especially against Rota virus, Norwalk virus, HIV and Salmonella infections.
In terms of global public health, WHO and UNICEF recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, followed by complementary feeding until at least 2 years of age.
Breastfeeding has very important effects on the child, both during the breastfeeding process and later in life. Yeditepe University Kozyatağı Hospital Pediatrics Specialist Dr. Lecturer Burçin Yorgancı Kale said that growth and development can continue in the most appropriate way thanks to the nutritional ingredients taken with breast milk, complete nutrition and bioactive substances.
Reminding that breastfeeding protects the mother as well as the child, Dr. Lecturer Burçin Y. Kale, “Breastfeeding reduces the risk of ovary and breast cancers in mother to be arise. Studies have shown that as the total duration of breastfeeding increases, the risk of developing breast cancer decreases.
Emphasizing that breast milk is a miracle food with numerous benefits on maternal and infant health, Dr. Lecturer Kale gave important information about the benefits it provides from growth and development to cardiovascular health protection, from preventing infections to weight control.
Effective in Preventing Infections
Noting that babies are born with immature acquired immunity and therefore they need maternal antibodies to deal with pathogens, Dr. Lecturer Kale said, “Antibodies in breast milk have an anti-infective effect on many bacteria, viruses and fungi. It has been shown that it contains molecules with protective properties especially against Rota virus, Norwalk virus, HIV and Salmonella infections. Dr. Lecturer Kale gave the following information about the content of breast milk that provides this effect: “Macronutrients in breast milk; classified as protein, carbohydrates and fats. Although the protein content of breast milk (9-12 gr/L) even is lower than that of cow's milk (33 gr/L), its bioavailability is more higher. Lactose, synthesized from glucose and galactose, is the main carbohydrate in breast milk. Slow and easily digested lactose is important in regulating the newborn's blood sugar. Lactose is converted to lactic acid by intestinal bacteria and prevents pathogenic microorganisms from causing infection. These carbohydrates also contribute to the development of lactobacillus bifidus strains that protect the newborn's gastrointestinal tract against infections.
“Breast Milk is an Investment in the Future of Children”
Pointing out that one of the most important aspects of breast milk is to strengthen the bond between mother and baby, in addition to its features such as providing the necessary water for the fluid intake of the baby and protecting it from many diseases. Dr. Lecturer Kale gave the following information about the content of this miracle product and its contribution to the baby:
“Breast milk contains micronutrients in normal standards for infant nutrition, but the content of some micronutrients such as vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, D and iodine varies according to the mother's diet and mother's sources. It contains numerous growth factors that affect the gastrointestinal tract, vascular system, nervous system, and endocrine system.”
Increases Babies' Chances of Survival
“Adequate breast-feeding of infants under two years of age increases their chances of survival more than any other preventive measure, Dr.Lecturer Kale said, “It has been calculated that 13 percent of the deaths in children under the age of 5 can be prevented, especially in developing countries, with the intake of appropriate breast milk. Babies who are breastfed have at least six times more chance of surviving than those who do not, especially in the first months.”
Result Affects Height
Reminding that nutrition in the intrauterine period and infancy determines future growth and body structure, Dr. Lecturer Kale said, “The effects of breast milk on growth, especially its effect on resulting height, have been associated with the hypothesis that insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) is programmed in infancy. Accordingly, it is thought that low levels of IGF-1 in breastfed babies program the pituitary and increase its secretion in the future.”
Protective Effect from Obesity Increases as Breastfeeding Duration Increases
Saying that “It is thought that infants fed exclusively with breast milk for at least 4 months protect against childhood obesity,” Dr. Lecturer Kale continued her words as follows: “In different literature studies, it has been reported that breastfeeding reduces the frequency of obesity by 4 percent for each month, and that the length of breast milk intake is associated with its protective effect from obesity. It has been shown that this is related to the fact that breastfed infants determine the duration and amount of feeding themselves, and that they consume less calories and protein than those fed with formula.
Develops a Protective Effect Against Type 2 Diabetes
Yeditepe University Hospitals Child Health and Diseases Specialist, who explained that the risks caused by metabolic syndrome are seen less in babies who are breastfed, have been shown in different studies. Dr. Lecturer Burçin Yorgancı Kale, “Blood sugar and insulin levels are lower in breastfed infants than in formula-fed infants. The low insulin level in those who receive breast milk in the later years of life creates a protective effect from Type 2 diabetes, thanks to its programming feature.
Saying that "It is suggested that the immunological components in breast milk prevent allergic diseases of infants by preventing the intestines from encountering allergens and protecting them from infections, which is an important stimulus in the pathogenesis of allergic disease," Dr. Lecturer Kale completed her words as follows: “Breast milk provides the development of the immune system of infants with its many immunologically active ingredients and multifactorial anti-inflammatory mechanisms.”