Human milk benefits and breastfeeding

Fani Anatolitou


Human milk is uniquely superior for infant feeding and represents the perfect example of individualization in Pediatrics. Human milk is not a uniform body fluid but a secretion of the mammary gland of changing composition. Foremilk differs from hindmilk, and colostrum is strikingly different from transitional and mature milk. Milk changes with time of day and during the course of lactation. Extensive research has demonstrated health, nutritional, immunologic, developmental, psychological, social, economic and environmental benefits of human milk. Breastfeeding results in improved infant and maternal health outcomes in both the industrialized and developing world. Some specific topics will be discussed such as the preventive effect of human milk on infections, overweight, obesity and diabetes, malignant disease, neurodevelopmental outcomes, reduction of necrotizing enterocolitis. Important health benefits of breastfeeding and lactation are also described for mothers. Finally, contraindications to breastfeeding and supplementation of breastfed infants are presented. Interventions to promote breastfeeding are relatively simple and inexpensive. Infant feeding should not be regarded as a lifestyle choice but rather as a basic health issue.


human milk; breastfeeding; newborn; preterm; mother; outcome

Full Text: PDF Number of abstract views: 10899 Number of PDF views/downloads: 35396


N.B. All JPNIM articles are accessible in Open Access. You can access the page containing the full PDF article just by clicking on the “Full Text: PDF” link at the bottom of the abstract page. On the full article page, if the article doesn’t load properly in the PDF view window, please wait a few seconds or click on the “Download this PDF file” link.

Technical advice. If you are using Firefox and you are experiencing problems, please set the browser preferences as follows: Firefox > Preferences > Advanced > General > Accessibility > deselect "Warn me when web sites try to redirect or reload the page".

Privacy Policy. English text: Privacy Policy; Italian text: Privacy Policy.

Cookie Policy. English text: Cookie Policy; Italian text: Cookie Policy.