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Arch Hellen Med, 32(2), March-April 2015, 245-249


The effects of breast feeding on the mental health of infants

E. Harami, H. Mazarakou, D. Tsoromokos
Molai Nursing Unit, General Hospital of Lakonia, Monemvasia, Lakonia, Greece

The diet in infancy is very important for the later stages of development, and because of this the appropriate diet for infants continues to be a major subject for ongoing developmental activities of many international organizations. Breast milk, the natural way of infant feeding, offers the ideal food for infants, as it provides energy, proteins, vitamins, hormones, antibodies and other valuable nutrients in the optimal proportions. It is scientifically documented by many studies that the benefits of breast milk to the physical development of babies are undeniable and multiple. After years of research, evidence has also begun to emerge of the benefits of breast feeding for the mental health of the baby, such as strengthening of the mother-infant bond, development of the emotional relationship between mother and child and creation of strong ties between mother, child and family. In addition, breast feeding provides emotional security for the child, makes children more self-assured and independent, and helps to strengthen their psycho-emotional and cognitive development. This evidence reinforces the current belief that breast milk is unique, offering the ideal form of infant feeding, which contributes effectively to the development of physically and mentally healthy children and adults.

Key words: Breast feeding, Infant, Mental health, Mother.

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