Are breastfeeding and complementary feeding of children of adolescent mothers different from those of adult mothers?

Maria LF Vieira, João LC Pinto e Silva, Antônio A Barros Filho

J Pediatr (Rio J) 2003;79(4):317-24


Adolescence is a critical period for humans during which intense biological and psychosocial transformations occur (1). The occurrence of pregnancy and maternity during this stage of life implies a number of different changes which, when added together, force a reevaluation of the future with a, generally unwanted, child. Pregnancy and maternity during adolescence are considered serious public health problems all over the world, primarily within low-income families; populations whose health is at risk (2).

In developing countries, including Brazil, research has been concerned with preventing infant malnutrition by means of promoting health and encouraging breastfeeding, primarily with adolescent mothers. The WHO, UNICEF and many research papers emphasize the necessity and importance of promoting exclusive maternal breastfeeding, as an efficient method of: preventing infectious diseases (gastrointestinal and respiratory complaints, otitis media), necrotizing enterocolitis, ulcerative rectocolitis, Crohn’s disease; protecting against later allergy, insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, obesity and cognitive dysfunctions; and of favoring infant growth and development (3-7). Knowledge of the advantages of breastfeeding and human milk for the health, growth and development of children has already been well cascaded (5), however Gouvêa (4) also stresses the important contribution that breastfeeding has to make in speech development. In the best-organized health services in Brazil, multidisciplinary teams work on the self-esteem of pregnant adolescents and those in confinement, encouraging them to assume personal responsibility for their babies, strengthening the mother-child bond and favoring breastfeeding (4).

A cikk teljes szövege a Journal de Pediatria oldalán olvasható.