From Dr. Jack Newman's  GUIDE TO BREASTFEEDING

by Dr. Jack Newman and Teresa Pitman  page

Copyright © 2000, 2003 by Dr. Jack Newman and Teresa Pitman

Harper Collins Publishers Ltd. 2 Bloor St. East, 20th floor, TO M4W 1A8 www.harpercollins.ca


See also Newman Breastfeeding Clinic www.nbci.ca


WHY BREASTFEEDING IS IMPORTANT

"The risks to feeding a baby with anything other than the milk nature designed for him are real, and are a concern even in societies where medical care and treatment for the problems caused by these formulas are readily available. In some parts of the world, the use of breast milk substitutes means many babies will probably not survive. While the vast majority of bottle-fed babies in North America will survive, that doesn't mean the health problems and risks are not real and potentially serious both for the individuals affected and the larger society that must help to care for them."[...]

 

INTELLIGENCE AND COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT

"We know that the human baby's brain is not yet fully developed at birth, and that it continues to grow and make important connections between the cells of the brain for about three years after birth. Once that process is completed, brain cells may die, but no new ones may be added. Breastmilk, because it is designed for human babies, contains all the nutrients a baby's brain needs to reach its maximum potential.

        

Breastmilk substitutes (formulas), however, don't have all these components. In fact we don't really know what all of them are.

        

Researchers have know from early on that children who breastfed as infants scored, on average, higher on tests of intelligence and development, but researchers tended to attribute this to other factors. Perhaps mothers who chose to breastfeed were more motivated to do good things for their children, and this led to their being more involved in teaching their children as they grew up. Or perhaps the extra holding and skin-to skin contact involved in breastfeeding was the reason these children were brighter, and mothers using breastmilk substitutes could achieve the same results by simply holding their babies more.

        

Holding babies more and teaching them more are both good things. But a 1992 study tried to eliminate these factors by looking at premature babies who were being fed through a tube. Some of these babies were given their mother's milk, some were given breastmilk substitutes—and the results were significant. When they reached school age, the children who had received breastmilk scored higher on tests of intelligence. The milk itself makes a difference.

        

Other researchers have studied babies who were breastfed for varying lengths of time and they found that intelligence scores were higher (on average) for babies who were breastfed longer.

 

RISKS TO THE MOTHER

Breastfeeding helps new mothers to recover from giving birth by encouraging the uterus to contract normally and by reducing the amount of blood loss.

        

It also reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Some early studies didn’t reveal this benefit; they tended to lump together women who had breastfed for only a few days with those who had breastfed for several years. Since then, more careful research has shown that the length of breastfeeding is important—the greater the total months of breastfeeding, the lower the risk of developing breast cancer.

 

Conscious Parenting Guide www.consciousparentingguide.com 2009 

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