Posts Tagged ‘breast feeding’

New Evidence On Benefits Of Breast Feeding

Researchers in Switzerland and Australia have identified proteins in human breastmilk — not present in cow’s milk — that may fight disease by helping remove bacteria, viruses and other dangerous pathogen’s from an infant’s gastrointestinal tract.

I didn’t think this was really news, as disease fighting antibodies has long been touted as a benefit of breastfeeding. However, this study has identified WHY this is the case. Human milk contains 2 sugar-based proteins that is lacking in cow’s milk. Previous studies have shown that these proteins can block certain receptors in the GI track that are main attachment sites for E. coli, Helicobacter pylory and other disease-causing microbes, which then prevents infection. Since cow’s milk lacks these proteins, it does not offer the same protection from disease.

Read the entire article here. 

Antibacterial products contain toxin Triclosan

Go figure, in our germophobe nation, many people use antibacterial products. Over the last few years, it’s come to public light that really these products are no better than regular soap and water. If the active ingredient in your antibacterial product is Triclosan, as it is in half of all hand soaps, then you are exposing yourself (and your family) to this toxic chemical.

In a press release, EWG states

“Triclosan has been linked to cancer in lab animals, has been targeted for removal from some stores in Europe for its health and environmental risks, and the American Medical Association recommends against its use in the home. It is also linked to liver and inhalation toxicity, and low levels of triclosan may disrupt the thyroid hormone system. Thyroid hormones are essential to proper growth and development, particularly for brain growth in utero and during infancy.

Triclosan breaks down into very toxic chemicals, including a form of dioxin; methyl triclosan, which is acutely toxic to aquatic life; and chloroform, a carcinogen formed when triclosan mixes with tap water that has been treated with chlorine. Scientists surveyed 85 U.S. rivers and streams, and found traces of triclosan in more than half.”

The EWG published its own study and provides a guide on triclosan and how to avoid it and its cousin triclocarban.

This toxin poses a risk to everyone, but mostly fetuses, infants and young children. It’s found in many everyday products – such as cutting boards, shower curtains, credit cards, baby bibs, counter tops, soap and more. It can be passed by a mother to a fetus and to her infant through her breast milk.

It’s best to just avoid this toxin by reading product labels and using the EWG guide on where to look for and how to avoid it.  

Once again, the FDA is failing to protect us from toxins. Several stores in Europe are looking into banning all products containing triclosan.

I use Dr. Bronner’s soap and love it. I have eczema and it’s mild on my skin. I like the baby mild soap , but there are many other “flavors” including Hemp Eucalyptus, and Hemp Lavender; and they also have liquid versions such as Hemp Almond, Hemp Tea Tree  or Hemp Peppermint.

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Flavor of breastmilk may influence child eating habits

Any breastfeeding mother will tell you that her diet can definitely affect her milk, but this takes a step beyond that saying the varying flavor of breastmilk can influence the child’s eating habits when he starts eating solid foods. The study suggests that breastfed babies are used to a variety of flavors and are more willing to accept new foods than a formula fed baby. Formula is very bland and the flavor never changes, so a formula fed baby may not be as willing to give a new food much of a chance.

I can definitely see this with my daughter who breastfed until she was 2. She still nurses occasionally. My daughter eats pretty much anything, especially hummus, lima beans, Mexican food, broccoli, and jambalaya. She also will eat salsa and likes spicier foods. I will say that I ate a lot of all these foods when I was pregnant and nursing. Other moms I talk to (who I know formula fed) are in envy of the variety of foods she will eat.

Now of course, this is not an exact science. There will be breastfed babies who are picky eaters and formula fed ones who will eat absolutely anything you put in front of them. But for sure the flavor of breastmilk definitely changes, and that is something that is only beneficial. More research would need to be done to get a better idea of the extent breastmilk can influence a child’s eating habits later in life. And as more mother’s are making the decision to breastfeed, that could help encourage better eating habits and lower the rates of childhood obesity.

Read the entire article here.

The BPA debate continues — Is BPA safe or not?

This topic has been a hot one in the last few months. I saw this article today and though it is not much clearer if BPA is harmful or not, it does seem to make a few pretty clear points.

First let’s back up. BPA is bisphenol A, a chemical found in polycarbonate plastics, the hard, clear plastics (labeled #7) used to make items like baby bottles and sippy cups, and also lines many metal food and infant formula cans. BPA is known to mimic the female hormone estrogen.

The article is long, though a good one at telling both sides. It is notable that most independent/government studies have shown adverse affects and industry tests have not. Who stands to lose something – the industry right? They would have to come up with alternatives if they found BPA to be harmful. Industry research does not hold much water with me.

The article does conclude though that BPA seems to do more harm in small quantities because hormones are released in small quantities, so the body responds accordingly. It also states that BPA appears to do the most harm during critical development times – during fetal development and during the first year of life. These small amounts affect organ development and may increase susceptibility to the development of cancer in some organs.

It also states :
“Early life exposure to environmentally relevant BPA doses may result in persistent adverse effects in humans.”
and
“The function of the immune system can be altered following adult exposure to BPA.”
So, while there is still no clear cut answer on the effects in humans (these tests were done on lab rats), scientists certainly see a need for further studies, especially during critical development periods.

The NDP in Canada also has called for a ban on BPA in children’s food and beverage containers. California has explored a ban as well.

Because studies do show harm and the harm was found after the subjects were given a low-dose of BPA, I am going to continue to avoid it. There are safer bottles, sippy cups and fresh food instead of canned food. And since I breastfeed my 22 month old and hope to become pregnant soon, I will certainly ensure I avoid BPA myself. Honestly, it is not hard to do since safer alternatives are available, so it has not been an inconvenience. Even if it were, the extra steps are worth protecting the health of my family.

Related Articles:

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  • Whole Foods private label canned food contain BPA
  • Canned foods and BPA
  • BPA is found in infant formula
  • Gerber baby food containers
  • BPA and other plastic safety
  • Z Recommends: The Z Report on BPA In Infant Care Products, Third Edition
  • Environmental Working Group: Guide to Baby Safe Bottles & Formula
  • Environmental Working Groups Report on BPA in Baby Formula
  • Breastmilk contains stem cells
  • Breastmilk cures
  • Can breastmilk cure cancer?