Brock, Emmeline G. et al. Breast feeding. Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine, Volume 29, Issue 5, 136 – 140.
Breastfeeding confers multiple benefits to both infants and mothers, with evidence linking breastfeeding to a lower risk of many adverse outcomes including gastroenteritis, respiratory disease, necrotising enterocolitis and otitis media in infants, and a lower risk of breast cancer in mothers. Breastfeeding has also been linked to other health, social and cognitive outcomes including childhood obesity and cognitive development. It is the responsibility of all health professionals to support women during the breastfeeding period, and as part of the NHS Long Term Plan the recommendation that Unicef UK Baby Friendly accreditation occurs across all maternity services and includes a focus on improved support for families with infants in neonatal care. Many mothers are required to use drugs during breastfeeding. Almost all drugs transfer into breast milk and this may carry a risk to a breastfed infant. Factors such as the dose received via breast milk, and the pharmacokinetics and effect of the drug in the infant need to be taken into consideration. Problems should not be overstated however, as many drugs are considered ‘safe’ during breastfeeding.
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