New Study Shows Breastfeeding Does More Than We Thought

New Study Shows Breastfeeding Does More Than We Thought

Science has done it again!  New research shows that breastmilk is even more amazing than we thought. We all know the magic of the ‘Liquid Gold.’  The milk that is worth crying over if spilt. Breastmilk is perfection.  The only source of complete nutrition that is created entirely by your body for your baby. There is simply nothing that can compare. I agree that formula has its place, and a fed baby is better than an unfed baby, but the quality and marketing have a long way to go before I would ever consider them the “healthy” option.  (If you are looking for the best formula options, please read THIS) I have written about the bacteria from the mother’s gut being passed to her baby during pregnancy (via placenta) and birth (as baby passes through the birth canal).  These bacteria become the foundation of the baby’s intestinal flora.  It is a very important part of the transition to the world for baby.  I have also written about the option of ‘Vaginal Seeding’ for a mother for has a c-section. While seeding is not the same as a baby passing through the birth canal, science has shown that it can at least pass along some of the mother’s bacteria to baby.  (YAY SCIENCE!) File May 21, 1 50 14 PM Mothers need to understand that their choices truly effect their babies. A c-section should be done when absolutely necessary, not just because it is wanted. ‘Breast is Best’ is not a saying created to divide women.  Again, a fed baby is better than an unfed baby in every single situation.  BUT, formula companies, who are part of a much bigger financial picture, have so many mothers believing that choosing formula over breastfeeding is not only fine, but is just as natural – or even more convenient. Please know that this is not true.

So here is the newest research.  Please take it and share it with anyone you know who is open to learning about why it is so important to breastfeed.

There is SO much more to breastfeeding than just feeding your baby.

Closeup of a newborn nursing with a striped mesh hat The woman’s body is magnificent.  It not only grows a human, but it then births this little one into the world, and then provides the absolute perfect nutrition for him. Nutrition is more than one specific formula of vitamins and minerals that works for every baby.  Breastmilk changes from one meal to the next to supply baby exactly what he needs.  It can also protect him from illnesses.

But there is more.

A new University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus study finds that hormones in breast milk may impact the development of healthy bacteria in infants' guts, potentially protecting them from intestinal inflammation, obesity and other diseases later in life!
The study, published Monday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examines the role of human milk hormones in the development of infants' microbiome, a bacterial ecosystem in the digestive system that contributes to multiple facets of health. "This is the first study of its kind to suggest that hormones in human milk may play an important role in shaping a healthy infant microbiome," said Bridget Young, co-first author and assistant professor of pediatric nutrition at CU Anschutz. "We've known for a long time that breast milk contributes to infant intestinal maturation and healthy growth. This study suggests that hormones in milk may be partly responsible for this positive impact through interactions with the infant's developing microbiome." Researchers found that levels of insulin and leptin in the breast milk were positively associated with greater microbial diversity and families of bacteria in the infants' stool. Insulin and leptin were associated with bacterial functions that help the intestine develop as a barrier against harmful toxins, which help prevent intestinal inflammation. By promoting a stronger intestinal barrier early in life, these hormones also may protect children from chronic low-grade inflammation, which can lead to a host of additional digestive problems and diseases.
The research shows that the infant intestinal microbiome around 6 weeks of age is connected with both how baby was delivered (vaginal vs surgical) and feeding method (breastmilk versus formula). They found that supplementing breast milk with formula is associated with a microbiome composition in the baby that resembles that of babies who are exclusively formula fed.

What does all of this mean?

"Just like children learn language and social cues as they grow, their digestive system learns how to regulate itself," said co-first author Dominick Lemas, now an assistant professor at the University of Florida. "What we've found is that hormones in breastmilk are linked to the development of infants' microbiome, potentially having long-term effects on children's intestinal and autoimmune health." There is a bigger picture than just birthing and feeding a baby. These choices can have lifelong health consequences on the baby. If you are able to choose, choose wisely; your child’s gut health may thank you.   Other interesting findings with this study:
Researchers also found significant differences in the intestinal microbiome of breastfed infants who are born to mothers with obesity compared to those born to mothers of normal weight. Infants born to mothers with obesity showed a significant reduction in gammaproteobacteria, a pioneer species that aids in normal intestinal development and microbiome maturation. Gammaproteobacteria have been shown in mice and newborn infants to cause a healthy amount inflammation in their intestines, protecting them from inflammatory and autoimmune disorders later in life. The 2-week-old infants born to obese mothers in this study had a reduced number of gammaproteobacteria in the infant gut microbiome. "I eagerly anticipate our follow-up studies to know whether these early results will help us understand what factors help make up a healthier immune system in infants born to obese mothers over the first year of life," said Jed Friedman, corresponding author and professor of pediatrics at CU Anschutz. "What happens if you restore these bacteria in the infant born to an obese mother remains an open question."
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