Summary and Info
Breast feeding has a great impact on the growth of infants both physically and psychologically. Human breast milk is beneficial to infant health because it contains the necessary macro- and micro-nutrients for tissue accretion, repair and behavioural developments. The production of milk is a complex biological process and its composition and volume is dependent upon a variety of factors such as the health and dietary status of the mother. Moreover, it is influenced by the different stages and duration of breast feeding. Environmental factors, both global and local, may also alter lactation, milk composition and nutritional value. This handbook provides a unique and complete insight into the dietary and nutritional aspects of human breast milk. For a general understanding an overview is given of breast structure and function and lactation. Nutritional aspects are highlighted in a section on the composition of breast milk, including recent research results on breast milk and growth factors, vitamins, proteins and antigens, amongst others. Finally an analysis of both the beneficial and adverse factors relating to lactation and composition of breast milk are discussed.
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