Breastfeeding: What are the benefits of this ‘experience of women’ for the child?

Breastfeeding is above all an experience of women. Far ideologies or pro antiallaitement, focus on reality and its health benefits for the child.

There are women for whom breastfeeding is obvious, and others not.There are those who regret not being reached, and others who cannot do it for health reasons.

Anne, 46, mother of two teenagers, said: “I loved breastfeeding; it was the first time I felt as a woman. A revelation.”

Torn between his feelings and the advice of friends, family, midwives and paediatricians, Isabelle, 44, is in custody on the contrary a bad memory: “I wanted to try, it was so wrong that I angoissais the idea he wakes up to nurse.”

In fact, breastfeeding continues to grow in our country, the way, at birth, 53% in 1998 to 70% in 2012. Overall, the duration of breastfeeding is that of maternity leave.


According to Valerie Adt, the sociologist Edgar Morin Centre in Paris, the decision to breastfeed is made by women in terms of its history, its culture, education. But it also includes the social gaze, now very supportive of breastfeeding.

“Women who do not breastfeed are justified so much,” she analyzes. They do not want, doubt their body or the quality of their milk, are modest, want to pass on a regular basis with their child, to engage other members of the family are embarrassed by the image of “cow Milk “.

“I put my daughter in, and I did not like this feeling, simply admits Anne-Laure, 30, annoyed by what she reads on the subject. There is always a position that wants judgment: breastfeeding is best. ”

“Many women who choose to bottle explain that they are not a bad mother for their child. Does this mean that, in our society, a good mother is one who makes himself available to breastfeed her child? Testifies psychologist Miriam OttRabiet.

A good mother is a good enough mother, which is to say enough to listen to her baby. What matters is not so much that the child is breastfed; it is the psychological availability of the mother. Its ability to meet the needs of the baby, his tears, his looks, his demands … The link even carnal, can be built other than breastfeeding. ”


No one disputes that breast milk is the best food for a baby. He brings her antibodies, anti-infective and immunomodulatory substances, and essential fatty acids.

But these mothers are questioning its health benefits in the short and long term for their child. What is certain is that breastfeeding in protecting the newborn gastrointestinal infections during the first year of life and, to a lesser extent, ear infections (otitis) and respiratory.

Regarding allergies, “breastfeeding is beneficial against the atopic dermatitis in infants or very young children. The facts are much more controversial regarding the Asthma and particularly food allergies, “believes Castetbon Katia, a researcher at the monitoring unit and Nutritional Epidemiology, Institute of Health Surveillance – University Paris 13.

“It is true, it is not shown, but at the theoretical level, being exposed to tiny amounts of allergens promotes food safety,”said Dr. Patrick Tounian pediatrician nutritionist at the hospital Armand-Trousseau to Paris.

The specialist, however, is very reserved about the prevention of cardiovascular disease and obesity, “a complex disease”.


In its latest analysis published this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes more profit on the rate ofcholesterol or prevention of diabetes .

It concludes that the effect of breastfeeding on blood pressure is too low to make a recommendation of public health and reducing the risk of overweight and obesity ranges from 12-24% depending on the quality of education.

WHO reaffirms that it is likely that breastfeeding increases so modest IQ (intelligence quotient) of the child. “And at 10, 15 or 20 years? asks Sophie Marinopoulos, psychologist and psychoanalyst Mother-Child University Hospital Nantes hospital. The development of a child is not linear. His relationship with himself and the world, highly dependent of what he will encounter in his life, is necessarily in flux “, she nuance.

Practical and economical for each binding or painful for others, breastfeeding should remain as Laurence, 41, said “a choice of mother, maybe couple.”


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