Human Breast milk refers to the milk produced by a mother to feed her baby. It provides the primary source of nutrition for newborns before they are able to eat and digest other foods; older infants and toddlers may continue to be breastfed. The baby nursing from its own mother is the most ordinary way of obtaining breastmilk, but the milk can be pumped and then fed by baby bottle, cup and/or spoon, supplementation drip system, and nasogastric tube. Breastmilk can be supplied by a woman other than the baby's mother; either via donated pumped milk (for example from a milk bank), or when a woman nurses a child other than her own at her breast - this is known as wetnursing.
The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age, with solids gradually being introduced around this age when signs of readiness are shown. Breastfeeding is recommended for at least two years and should continue as long as mother and child wish. Breastfeeding continues to offer health benefits into and after toddlerhood. These benefits include; lowered risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), increased intelligence, decreased likelihood of contracting middle ear infections, cold, and flu bugs, decreased risk of some cancers such as childhood leukemia, lower risk of childhood onset diabetes, decreased risk of asthma and eczema, decreased dental problems, and decreased risk of obesity later in life, decreased risk of developing psychological disorders .
Breastfeeding also provides health benefits for the mother. It assist the uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy size and reduces post-partum bleeding as well as assisting the mother to return to her pre-pregnancy weight. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of breast cancer later in life.
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