Breastfeeding was the norm for humanity since our initial appearance on the planet. Until our era (roughly with the advent of the 20th century) no one would have considered any other form of providing sustenance for an infant. There are many factors for this...first it is readily available, as long as the mother is reasonably healthy. (The health of the mother is obviously important as she must add weight to produce the milk and any bio-chemical health problems she might have can be transferred to the child.)
Mother's milk is an excellent source of carbohydrates and proteins. The milk of human females provides three kinds of proteins, and the protein forms are specifically designed for a human infant's digestive system and thus is easier for the infant to digest than cow's milk. Human infants fed mother's milk have less difficulty evacuating and suffer less occurences of constipation
Mother's milk is preferrable to the milk of cows or other animal milk, such as goats, as these milks are biologically designed for bovine infants and goat babies, not human infants. There are also storage problems involved with non-human milk in many impoverished areas of the world.
Mother's milk is also superior to the many retail formula concoctions available today. (See World Campaign Against Nestlé)
Soy based and similar non-animal options are also less beneficial to the development of the infant.
An added benefit of breast-feeding is the economic savings involved. It is cheaper than formula feeding and reduces health problems in the child, thus health care cost are also reduced.
Studies have shown that breast-feeding bestows many health benefits on the child including a reduction of the likelihood of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, diabetes, high cholesterol and others maladies. Breast-feeding strengthens the baby's immune system helping the child fight out infection. It has also been shown to be an effective bar to many allergies,.bronchiolitis, specific respiratory diseases,: gastroenteritis, asthma among other ailments.
Breast-feeding is also a tremendous bonding agent for the mother and infant. This has a positive social psychological impact on both and the family in general.
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