Malnutrition and Susceptibility to Diarrhea

With Special Reference to the Antiinfective Properties of Breast Milk
  • S. Sahni
  • R. K. Chandra


Breast milk provides nearly optimum nutritional components for the growing infant. Its content of proteins, lipids, lactose, and minerals is ideally suited for the young infant. Moreover, it has several other advantages over formula, such as being readily available at proper temperature, being fresh and relatively sterile, and requiring no preparation, thereby reducing the potential risk of contamination. In addition, breast-feeding has psychological advantages for both the mother and the infant. It is satisfying to the mother because she is personally involved in nurturing her baby, and to the infant because of close contact and comfort from the mother. Another very important facet of breast-feeding that is being recognized and appreciated with increasing interest is its role in providing immunity to the newborn against infections. In the past 15 years or so, considerable work has focused on unraveling the biochemical and cellular bases of the antiinfectious properties of human milk, as well as on its role in preventing infections in the newborn and young infant and in prevention of allergic disorders; based on these data, breast-feeding is being strongly encouraged. This immunologic protective capacity of breast milk may indeed be a new frontier in infant nutrition.


Respiratory Syncytial Virus Breast Milk Human Milk Newborn Infant Breast Feeding 
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Copyright information

© The United Nations University 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Sahni
    • 1
  • R. K. Chandra
    • 2
  1. 1.Janeway Child Health CenterSt. John’sCanada
  2. 2.Memorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada

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