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Who owns the breasts: babies or daddies?

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Dr Maclawrence Famuyiwa

Many women believe that breastfeeding their babies can make their breasts sag. So, in order to maintain the firmness of their breasts and their physical attractions rather ignorantly, deny their babies the chance of getting all the benefits; that breast milk offers. Yet, most women desire to be pregnant and have their babies and in the process of making the pregnancy happen would willingly offer their partners, the chance to suck the same breasts, they denied their babies. Though, some men are still denied this essential part of romanticism based on the aforementioned fallacious assertion.

Matter of fact, rather than inculpating breastfeeding or sucking for breast sagging, pregnancy should rather be held responsible, since it is the one that physiologically change the elasticity of ligaments of the breasts that eventually results in breast sagging. However, sucking of the breast in a rough manner, by men during romance and sex can cause breast sagging, especially, if done very frequently. Smoking can also cause skin sagging, because it produces chemicals that destroy collagen and elastin needed for skin strength and elasticity.

The structure of the breast basically shows that it is specially made for the production of milk for breastfeeding and not aesthetics. Milk is made in the lobules of the breast tissue, which connect to ducts that lead to the nipple. The first milk produced by the mother in the first few days, following childbirth is called colostrum. It is rich in immunoglobulins; which are antibodies from the mothers. It also rich in fat and lactoferrin; which indirectly protects against bacteria by reducing iron availability to bacteria. Colostrum also has lysozymes that kill bacteria by disrupting their cell walls, and also vitamin A that is responsible for its rich yellow colour.

Thereafter, breast milk becomes paler in colour and with lower, but still significant, levels of immunological factors and vitamins. The resultant breast milk is rich in protein, energy, major minerals, micro-nutrients and immunoglobulins. Breast milk has a broad spectrum of anti-microbial activity against a range of bacteria, viruses and some fungi. It also helps in the maturation of the babies’ mucosal defenses and promotes and maintains the formation of optimal gut flora.

The composition of human breast milk shows that it is nutritionally enough for babies for their first six months of life. It also supports the development of their immune system. Also, as the child grows and develops, the composition of breast milk changes to meet the child’s nutrient and water needs. It is, therefore, necessary that mothers should exclusively breastfeed their babies for six months, which means they should not give any other liquids or solids except vitamin drops, mineral supplements, or prescribed medicine.

Exclusive breastfeeding, profoundly reduces infant mortality attributable to diarrhoea and pneumonia. The more a child feed on the breast milk of its mother, the more it is immunologically protected from infectious diseases. Matter of factly, a significant chunk of under five-year deaths is as a result of insufficiently breastfeeding a child in its first two years of life.

At around six months, however, the iron content of breast milk may be insufficient to meet the nutritional requirements of babies, even though, its bioavailability is still high, so breast milk alone may not be sufficient to further meet the nutritional and water needs of the child. But the immunological protection continues beyond two years, though, at a lower levels. It is at this time that solid food should be introduced while breastfeeding should continue till the child is at least two years old, so as to maximise the immunological protection received from the mother and to ensure a measure of good quality nutrition.

In conclusion, it is momentous to state the fact that artificial feeding of babies may be hazardous, since bottles, water, other fluids and other foods given to babies, oftentimes, introduce pathogens into their bodies. Though, it is possible that many mothers could provide adequate levels of hygiene at home, it is, however, resources intensive and time-consuming. It should also be noted that artificial infant formula powders are not sterile and give no immunological benefit to the child. So, rather than letting the daddies have the breasts, they should rather be surrendered to our babies, so as for them to grow and develop to their full physical, mental and intellectual capacities.



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