Posts Tagged ‘breast milk’

Nursing is more than breastfeeding

I thought this was a great little article at SAFbaby.

Breastfeeding isn’t only about providing mother’s milk. While seldom recognized in literature, doctors’ advice or common conversation, there’s a whole lot more to breastfeeding than nutrition and immunity, and some of this can be achieved during bottlefeeding as well.

Breastfeeding has taken quite a bashing over the last century. In order to rebuild acceptance of breastfeeding, breastfeeding advocates have focused on the importance its nutritive and immune support roles. But breastfeeding is designed to be much more than just providing food — it is a time for nursing, a time for comfort and nurturing. This is a time for studying and memorizing each other’s faces, for speaking or singing to your baby and developing her trust and nonverbal communication.
Read more…

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Disturbing news about ARA / DHA in infant formula

Vitamin D deficiency in breastfed babies and everyone else

This irks me every time I read about it. Breastmilk is deficient in vitamin D. Infants are at risk. Come on people!! This is sooo easy to fix. Get your but outside and get some sun on your skin!! Studies show you only need 5 to 10 minutes of sunlight (without sunscreen) 2 to 3 times a week for your body to make enough vitamin D. You also only need filtered sunlight. Darker skinned folks may need more sun to absorb enough vitamin D.

Another option to ensure your breastfed baby is getting enough vitamin D is to offer supplement drops. Don’t wait for your pediatrician to recommend them –ask about them and do so early on. A breast feeding mother also needs to ensure she is getting enough vitamin D to up the amount in her milk — get in the sun,  eat foods rich in vitamin D such as salmon, drink your milk fortified with vitamin D. Those in areas where there is limited sunlight or can’t be in sunlight should talk to their doctor about supplements. Do be careful with supplements, as taking 2 multivitamins contain too much vitamin A which can be toxic.

Vitamin D deficiency is thought to lead to certain cancers, diabetes and other diseases. So this is certainly not an issue that is isolated to infants. Everyone needs to ensure they are getting the appropriate amount of vitaman D each day.

Mininmum daily vitamin day intakes, which are set by the Institute of Medicine are: 200 IU daily for children and young adults, 400 IU for those ages 51 to 70 and 600 IU for those 71 and older. And some proponents recommend 1,000 IU per day.

Studies also show the BEST time for an infant to get vitamin D is in the womb. Children whose mothers get plenty of vitamin D during pregnancy have bigger, stronger bones at age 9. In fact, maternal vitamin D matters more than all the milk children drink in those first nine years.

I am so tired of hearing that breast feeding causes vitamin D deficiency I could scream. Yes, there are some very real side effects of vitamin D deficiency, such as rickets, but this is prevantable by ensuring the infant and mother get their recommended intake of vitamin D. Throughout history babies were breastfed, and before the invention of TV and fear of skin cancer, vitamin D deficiency was not an issue because people spent most of the day outdoors.

Everyone needs to take this issue seriously, not just mothers with breastfed infants.

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.

Benefits of Extended Breastfeeding

Extended breastfeeding is referred to those who breastfeed their child beyond one year of age. Which is kinda funny since 2 years is the MINIMUM recommended age (by WHO, UNICEF and the American Academy of Family Physicians). There is also lots of research, studies, information, facts and figures that point the the benefits of nursing beyond one year of age.

My 2 year old nurses at bedtime. I am 18 weeks pregnant so she is probably not getting a whole lot. If you had asked me when I was pregnant if I would be nursing a toddler, I would have thought you were nuts. I used to be in the camp that thought nursing beyond a year was “weird.” However, having been through the nursing experience, I see how ignorant I was and how beneficial breastfeeding a toddler is. She is very healthy and we are fortunate that she rarely catches any sickness that goes around at daycare. I truly believe this is because she received and still receives the benefits of breastmilk. 

Here is a page from KellyMom.com that shares some of the benefits of nursing a toddler.

Nursing toddlers benefit NUTRITIONALLY
  • Although there has been little research done on children who breastfeed beyond the age of two, the available information indicates that breastfeeding continues to be a valuable source of nutrition and disease protection for as long as breastfeeding continues.
  • “Human milk expressed by mothers who have been lactating for >1 year has significantly increased fat and energy contents, compared with milk expressed by women who have been lactating for shorter periods. During prolonged lactation, the fat energy contribution of breast milk to the infant diet might be significant.”
    – Mandel 2005
  • “Breast milk continues to provide substantial amounts of key nutrients well beyond the first year of life, especially protein, fat, and most vitamins.”
    – Dewey 2001
  • In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:
    • 29% of energy requirements
    • 43% of protein requirements
    • 36% of calcium requirements
    • 75% of vitamin A requirements
    • 76% of folate requirements
    • 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
    • 60% of vitamin C requirements

    – Dewey 2001

  • Studies done in rural Bangladesh have shown that breastmilk continues to be an important source of vitamin A in the second and third year of life.
    – Persson 1998
  • It’s not uncommon for weaning to be recommended for toddlers who are eating few solids. However, this recommendation is not supported by research. According to Sally Kneidel in “Nursing Beyond One Year” (New Beginnings, Vol. 6 No. 4, July-August 1990, pp. 99-103.):

    Some doctors may feel that nursing will interfere with a child’s appetite for other foods. Yet there has been no documentation that nursing children are more likely than weaned children to refuse supplementary foods. In fact, most researchers in Third World countries, where a malnourished toddler’s appetite may be of critical importance, recommend continued nursing for even the severely malnourished (Briend et al, 1988; Rhode, 1988; Shattock and Stephens, 1975; Whitehead, 1985). Most suggest helping the malnourished older nursing child not by weaning but by supplementing the mother’s diet to improve the nutritional quality of her milk (Ahn and MacLean. 1980; Jelliffe and Jelliffe, 1978) and by offering the child more varied and more palatable foods to improve his or her appetite (Rohde, 1988; Tangermann, 1988; Underwood, 1985).

References

Nursing toddlers are SICK LESS OFTEN
  • The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that children weaned before two years of age are at increased risk of illness (AAFP 2001).
  • Nursing toddlers between the ages of 16 and 30 months have been found to have fewer illnesses and illnesses of shorter duration than their non-nursing peers (Gulick 1986).
  • “Antibodies are abundant in human milk throughout lactation” (Nutrition During Lactation 1991; p. 134). In fact, some of the immune factors in breastmilk increase in concentration during the second year and also during the weaning process. (Goldman 1983, Goldman & Goldblum 1983, Institute of Medicine 1991).
  • Per the World Health Organization, “a modest increase in breastfeeding rates could prevent up to 10% of all deaths of children under five: Breastfeeding plays an essential and sometimes underestimated role in the treatment and prevention of childhood illness.” [emphasis added]

References

Nursing toddlers have FEWER ALLERGIES
  • Many studies have shown that one of the best ways to prevent allergies and asthma is to breastfeed exclusively for at least 6 months and continue breastfeeding long-term after that point.

    Breastfeeding can be helpful for preventing allergy by:

    1. reducing exposure to potential allergens (the later baby is exposed, the less likely that there will be an allergic reaction),
    2. speeding maturation of the protective intestinal barrier in baby’s gut,
    3. coating the gut and providing a barrier to potentially allergenic molecules,
    4. providing anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the risk of infections (which can act as allergy triggers).

References

Nursing toddlers are SMART
  • Extensive research on the relationship between cognitive achievement (IQ scores, grades in school) and breastfeeding has shown the greatest gains for those children breastfed the longest.

References

Nursing toddlers are WELL ADJUSTED SOCIALLY
  • According to Sally Kneidel in “Nursing Beyond One Year” (New Beginnings, Vol. 6 No. 4, July-August 1990, pp. 99-103.):

    “Research reports on the psychological aspects of nursing are scarce. One study that dealt specifically with babies nursed longer than a year showed a significant link between the duration of nursing and mothers’ and teachers’ ratings of social adjustment in six- to eight-year-old children (Ferguson et al, 1987). In the words of the researchers, ‘There are statistically significant tendencies for conduct disorder scores to decline with increasing duration of breastfeeding.’”
  • According to Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq. in “Extended Breastfeeding and the Law”: 
    Breastfeeding is a warm and loving way to meet the needs of toddlers and young children. It not only perks them up and energizes them; it also soothes the frustrations, bumps and bruises, and daily stresses of early childhood. In addition, nursing past infancy helps little ones make a gradual transition to childhood.
  • Baldwin continues: “Meeting a child’s dependency needs is the key to helping that child achieve independence. And children outgrow these needs according to their own unique timetable.” Children who achieve independence at their own pace are more secure in that independence then children forced into independence prematurely.

References

Nursing a toddler is NORMAL
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that “Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child… Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother… There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.” (AAP 2005)
  • The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that breastfeeding continue throughout the first year of life and that “Breastfeeding beyond the first year offers considerable benefits to both mother and child, and should continue as long as mutually desired.” They also note that “If the child is younger than two years of age, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned.” (AAFP 2001)
  • A US Surgeon General has stated that it is a lucky baby who continues to nurse until age two. (Novello 1990)
  • The World Health Organization emphasizes the importance of nursing up to two years of age or beyond (WHO 1992, WHO 2002).
  • Scientific research by Katherine A. Dettwyler, PhD shows that 2.5 to 7.0 years of nursing is what our children have been designed to expect (Dettwyler 1995).

References [see also position statements supporting breastfeeding]

MOTHERS also benefit from nursing past infancy
  • Extended nursing delays the return of fertility in some women by suppressing ovulation (References).
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer (References). Studies have found a significant inverse association between duration of lactation and breast cancer risk.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of ovarian cancer (References).
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of uterine cancer (References).
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of endometrial cancer (References).
  • Breastfeeding protects against osteoporosis. During lactation a mother may experience decreases of bone mineral. A nursing mom’s bone mineral density may be reduced in the whole body by 1 to 2 percent while she is still nursing. This is gained back, and bone mineral density may actually increase, when the baby is weaned from the breast. This is not dependent on additional calcium supplementation in the mother’s diet. (References).
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. (References).
  • Breastfeeding has been shown to decrease insulin requirements in diabetic women (References).
  • Breastfeeding moms tend to lose weight easier (References).

 

Page last modified: 01/04/2006
Written: 3/12/98


Additional Resources

Extended Breastfeeding Links @

Extended Breastfeeding References @

Drug Regimen Prevents AIDS Transmission Via Breast Milk

This article was in US News and World Report. A new drug regimen helps prevent the HIV virus from being passed from an infected mother to her infant via breastmilk. This is significant particularly for African mothers who rarely formula feed. There, they have little or no access to clean water for mixing formula or sterilizing/cleaning bottles.

Another interesting point of the studies finding is that duration of breastfeeding had no impact on the risk of passing the virus, so limiting the duration of nursing does not offer any further protection. It also said that stopping breastfeeding in an HIV infected infant was harmful.

This is great news and I hope all infected mothers will be able to take advantage of this.

Read the entire article

And for even more details on the study, this article was posted in Science Daily. It gives a more detailed version of the study. Very interesting stuff!

Breast Milk Contains Stem Cells

An Australian scientist has discovered that human breast milk contains stem cells. This is an exciting discover since stem cell harvesting is a hotly contested debate. Dr. Mark Cregan is confident that within five years scientists will be harvesting stem cells from breast milk to research treatment for diseases like diabetes and Parkinson’s.

This also further supports the benefits of breastfeeding and Cregan is also excited about the new doors that this could open about the potency of breastmilk.

Cregan believes breastmilk contains key markers that guide an infant’s development all the way into adulthood. “We already know how breast milk provides for the baby’s nutritional needs, but we are only just beginning to understand that it probably performs many other functions,” says Dr Cregan, a molecular biologist at The University of Western Australia.

Cregan’s team cultured cells from human breast milk and found a population that tested positive for the stem cell marker, nestin. Further analysis showed that a side population of the stem cells were of multiple lineages with the potential to differentiate into multiple cell types. Meaning the cells could potentially be “reprogrammed” to form many types of human tissue.

Cregan’s team have shown the cells have all the physical characteristic of stem cell. The next step for the team is to see if they behave like stem cells.

If these cells do behave like stem cells, Cregan and his team have made a great discovery in finding an ethical way to harvest stem cells, rather than harvesting them from human embryos.

Read the entire article here.

What an amazing discovery. Daily I am thankful that God has given me the ability to continue to provide breastmilk for my 22 month old daughter.

Related Articles:

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  • Breastmilk cures
  • Can breastmilk cure cancer?
  • BPA-free milk storage, bottles and sippy cups
  • Pregnant women told to avoid BPA
  • What if I want to wean my baby?
  • Breastfeeding Language
  • Formula feeding is easy
  • Importance of Breastfeeding
  • Disturbing news about ARA / DHA in infant formula
  • Long journey for mother’s milk
  • Can Breast Milk Cure Cancer?

    Recently I have read some amazing stories showing how breast milk was killed cancer cells. I know how great breast milk is but I didn’t know it was this good. It does make sense though considering formula fed babies are 9 times more likely to develop childhood cancers than those babies who were breastfed.

    Below are several fascinating articles showing how human milk has been used to treat and cure cancer.

    Here is a story of a research student who accidentally made such a discovery. He had been looking for how mother’s milk fights viruses in tissue culture. The virus is introduced into the cancer cells (or the culture) and treated with milk components to see if there is an increase of viral destruction. What resulted was the cancer cells completely dying.

    Another fascinating article about the same researcher with some very interesting information on what makes breast milk so special and powerful. I have also learned that she later conducted a study with 40 cancer patients, treating their cancer with the breast milk component. Over a period of time 80% were cured of cancer, and 2 years after the study concluded, the cancer had not returned.

    Another story of a scientist who was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Knowing the benefits of human milk, he was able to get a friend to donate 2 oz of breast milk a day. While drinking the milk, his PSA level, used to detect prostate cancer cells, neared the normal level. Once the mother weaned ending his access to breast milk, his levels increased. Then he obtained a prescription to get breast milk from a milk bank and once back on the breast milk, his PSA levels improved again.  

    If I or a family member ever gets cancer (God forbid), I pray that I will have easy access to breast milk.

    Breastmilk can cure/treat a host of common illnesses and conditions including colds, burns and eczema. Please see my article on Breastmilk Cures.

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