Maternal Lactation

Maternal lactation is the synthesis and secretion of milk from the breast. Breast-feeding is the provision of nutrition to a newborn by suckling at the breast. It is also commonly used as a term for providing pumped human milk to a newborn via a gavage tube or bottle. Nutrition is a key element of optimal health, and human milk is the best nutrition for newborns. Human milk has many properties such as antibodies that promote and protect the health of a newborn. Optimal nutrition of the newborn sets a pattern for the nutrition and health of future generations. Breast-feeding should begin immediately after birth.

This entry begins with a description of the history of breast-feeding. Next, a review of the literature is presented followed by ...

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