Breastfeeding: Only Nourishment or Part of a Larger Process?
- Duration: 1439 Mins
- Credits: 1 CERP, 1 L-CERP, 1 CNE, .1 Midwifery CEU
- Learning Format: Webinar
- Handout: No
- Origin: Midwifery 2015
The current paradigm of infant and family care is:
- Newborns are helpless
- Mothers are clueless
- Fathers are useless
But helplessness and separation negate evolutionary processes developed over millennia of mammalian existence. For our ancestors, who constantly held and carried their infants, breastfeeding was frequent snacking on infant’s schedule. Now, infants eat scheduled meals and sleep separated from mother. Breastfeeding is considered nourishment only. In reality, breastfeeding is part of a nurturing process promoting affectional bonding, emotional, behavioral and cognitive development, and providing protection from acute and chronic illnesses. Full benefits of this process come when infants are in their evolutionary habitat, skin-to-skin on their mother’s chest (Kangaroo Care, KC). In KC infants receive non-noxious emotional and sensory stimuli leading to better utilization of breastmilk and optimal hardwiring of the central nervous system. During this presentation breastfeeding as part of a nurturing process and the optimal environment will be discussed.
Objective 1: Describe the importance of nurturing for infant development. Objective 2: Delineate the short and long-term benefits of breastfeeding and the affiliated nurturing process. Objective 3: Discuss how an evolutionary habitat, Kangaroo Care, advances nurturing and infant development.