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Breast feeding is the act of feeding the young with milk produced from the udder of the mother. This is a natural process in mammals.
The breast milk in the first few days following birth contains colostrums which is made up of rich protein and antibodies required by the young to withstand infection.
In humans, this is advocated for with slogan “Baby Friendly” Exclusive Breastfeeding. The usual practice among young ladies is to switch to cow milk shortly after birth. Some complain that their breast could go flat if the continue on breast feeding for a long time, others do this as a show of affluence.
The health implication is this; the young baby does not differentiate protein at the early age before the age of six months hence introduction of cow milk makes the child to develop antibodies and considers other proteins that the child produces later in life as foreign especially those hormones produced from the pancreas like insulin. This is the basis of auto-immune disease. Such a child is at high risk of developing type 1 diabetes mellitus which is an auto-immune disease. Majority of children with type 1 diabetes is as a result of this phenomenon. Though other conditions like viral infection example miscles, rubella and cocksakie virus could predispose to type 1 diabetes.
It is therefore advisable for nursing mothers to breast feed their young ones for at least six months before gradual introduction of substitutes. Except in cases of HIV infected mothers.