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Breastfeeding: Case Study

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Case study 2. The first two years

Nursing

Part 1 Breastfeeding

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life and continued, with the gradual introduction of appropriate solids, for two or more years (World Health Organization., 2016). These recommendations are based on evidence from thousands of international research studies. Very few babies in Australia are exclusively breastfed to six months (less than 15%) (Australian Institute for Health & Welfare., 2010). This has implications for the physical health and development of Australia’s mothers and children, the health system and the environment.

Mia is a little over 4 months old and the first baby to John and Grace. She is a healthy, responsive baby girl who, until recently, has been breastfed and growing and developing well.

Grace has brought Mia to the clinic because she is concerned that Mia has started to be unsettled and doesn’t appear to be gaining weight as she used to. Her friends in mothers group have advised her to commence solids and to give a bottle of formula before bedtime to help her sleep longer overnight. Grace has also been told by her Maternal & Child Health nurse, and her own mother who is a midwife, that Mia doesn’t need solids until she is around six months old. Grace is very confused by this conflicting information.

Why is breastmilk most suited to human infants?

According to Hoffnung (2016), breast milk contains the basic natural elements that babies needs for their growth. Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from a range of serious illnesses and conditions such as gastroenteritis, respiratory illness and otitis media. Breastfeeding is viewed as the biological and social norm for infant and young child feeding. Moreover, mother’s milk will strengthen the immunisation system for the baby, stimulate his muscles and the sensation, and increase the attachment to his mother.

What does the evidence show in terms of the risks of not breastfeeding according to the WHO recommendations?

Increases infant mortality, low immune system for the infant, increase the risks for the mother of catching breast cancer (WHO, 2002).

How should a health professional advise a mother who is confused by contradictory information?

By providing a proven case studies, statistics, and original information from a reliable sources, to erase any contradiction in the information and to aid the client to the correct path. Then leave the mother exercising her right of choosing what’s best for her and her baby without being a judge.

What might be the implications of commencing solids too early?

As gastroenteritis, respiratory illness and otitis media, increase the risk of being fat in the future. Which lead to cardiac diseases and other fat related diseases. Furthermore, it will decrease the level of immunity, which makes the baby an easy target for diseases and infections (Hoffnung, 2016).

What information would you need to gather to best advise Grace?

Information from The Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy, that could clarify and be prove-based on practice actions of the breastfeeding benefits. This information can be collected from web site, brochures and videos. Some of the web site that could be useful in collecting information is World Health Organization, the Australian Breastfeeding Association And the Australian Health Ministry, Australian Institute for Health & Welfare.

Australian Institute for Health & Welfare. (2010). 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey: Indicator Results.   Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737420927

World Health Organization. (2016). Global Strategy on infant and young child feeding.   Retrieved from https://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/infantfeeding_recommendation/en/

  • Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, L. J., & Ridder, E. M., (2006). Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(1), 16–24. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01538.
  • Hoffnung, R. J., Seifert, K. L., Hine, A., Ward, L., Pausé, C., Swabey, K., Yates, K., Smith, R. B. (2016). Lifespan Development (3rd   ed.). Milton Qld, John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.
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World Health Organization. ( 2002).  Infant and young child nutrition, Fifty-fifth world health assembly, 16 April 2002, A55/15.

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