|Breastfeeding: from Biology to Policy (UNSSCN, 1998, 28 p.)|
It has been a popular belief that breastfeeding benefits mostly non-industrialized countries because breastmilk is a clean, 'cheap' food in light of inadequate resources and poor sanitary conditions. Today we know differently as research continues to show its benefits for both industrialised and non-industrialised countries (Cunningham et al., 1992).
In discussing the health benefits of breastfeeding, the emphasis is usually on the infant. Breastfeeding however, is not a private matter between the breasts and the infant as can be misconstrued from pictures of infants feeding from 'faceless' breasts. Breastfeeding is a process that involves two individuals: the mother or the 'breastfeeder' as the producer, and the infant as the consumer. The process benefits both the producer and the consumer and this is very important to highlight in breastfeeding promotion programmes. It is also crucial for the breastfeeding mother to know this.
Future research might yet discover further benefits of breastfeeding for both a mother and her infant. It is time for women to recognize the importance, the uniqueness and value of their breasts. Maybe it is also time for women to start insuring these extremely valuable assets - their breasts!
The World Summit for Children was held in 1990 and one of its goals was the 'empowerment of all women to breastfeed their children exclusively for four to six months and to continue breastfeeding whit complementary food, well into the second year'.