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A REVIEW ON INFLUENCE OF BREASTFEEDING ON MOTHER AND CHILD HEALTH
Dr. Preeti Pimpalshende*, Dr. Mohan Yende, Dr. Sanchita Karotkar and Dr. Arpita Shah
Ayurveda is the ancient medical science enriched with plenty of references related to mother and child health. The strongest bond amongst mother and child is built during the process of breast feeding. Breast milk is the complete diet for every newborn and breast feeding is effectively necessary for mother as well as child. Human breast milk provides optimal nutrition for infants. Prevailing tendency of early weaning and using of formulated milk for infants causes significant health consequences in children even with long term impact on quality of life. This review is based on the Ayurveda texts and web sources to determine the merits of breastfeeding and impact of human milk and its substitutes on mother and child health in relation to the Ayurveda and modern concepts. The importance of breast milk is identified by Ayurvedic way of age classification of children as Ksheerapa and Ksheeraannada which based on their main diet respectively continue to be breast milk up to one year and up to 2 years who feeds on milk and semisolid foods. Ayurveda emphasizes the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of human breast milk, characteristics of Dhatri, methods of breast feeding and methods to enhance the quality of breast milk. Earlier breastfeeding is encouraged in Ayurveda which provides rich nutrient composition of colostrums to the infant. Sufficient amounts of nutrients, growth factors and immunity enhancers from human breast milk can sustain the life of a child. The lowered tendency to have diarrhea, asthma, childhood obesity and many infectious diseases and influence of Dosha on the nutrients of human milk were proven by the modern scientific findings regarding breastfeeding. Ayurveda advised to substitute human milk with Cow’s milk or Goat’s milk in a non- availability. Recent research findings support nutrients of these natural milk varieties as efficacious rather than the formulated milk. Thus, there is a need to promote exclusive breastfeeding as per Ayurveda for giving optimal nutrition and immunity to the child.[Full Text Article]