4. Breastfeeding Research, October-December 2014

March 29th, 2015

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of intestinal disorders for babies.  Infants, especially those born prematurely, are at increased risk for a potentially lethal gastrointestinal disease called necrotizing enterocolitis, also known as NEC. The researchers found that a protein called neuregulin-4 (NRG4) can help reduce this risk. However, this protein can be found only in breast milk and not in formula milk. According to statistics, more than 13 percent of babies with NEC die from the disease, and even survivors can face lifelong consequences that may include removal of part of their intestine and dependence upon intravenous nutrition. (The American Journal of Pathology, October 2014, pp. 2768-2778)

Breastfeeding beyond two months helps babies reduce the risk of obesity.  Those children at higher risk for rising weight gain should breastfeed for a longer duration.  Researcher Stacy Carling said: “Breastfeeding, especially on demand (versus on a schedule), allows an infant to feed when he/she is hungry, thereby fostering an early development of appetite control. When a baby breastfeeds, she can control how much milk she gets and how often, naturally responding to internal signals of hunger and satiation. (“Breastfeeding Duration and Weight Gain Trajectory in Infancy,” Pediatrics, December 2014)

Nine policies have been passed in Pakistan from 2007 to 2012 to favor breastfeeding but these programs have had no impact.  Only about one-third of the babies are breastfed exclusively for the first six months, the worst rate among South Asian countries.  On average, 25 to 30 mothers take their babies to the public hospitals daily due to acute diarrhea.  As the researcher said, “Mothers should exclusively breastfeed their babies at least during the first six months and avoid formula milk which is the root cause of many diseases including diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections among children.”  Mothers need to learn the importance of breastfeeding.  In Pakistan there is a high infant mortality rate owing to low breastfeeding and high bottle feeding rate. “According to experts, human milk is important for nourishment, survival and growth of infants. Breastfeeding in the first six months of life stimulates babies’ immune systems and protects them from diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections, the two major causes of infant mortality, and improves their responses to vaccination. Only one-third of all infants in developing countries are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life.”  (“Breastfeeding: As bottle feeding trend rises, so does infant mortality,” The Express Tribune and International New York Times, December 1, 2014)
Sheila:  Everyone doing ministry work in other countries should be strong promoters for breastfeeding if they want to save lives.

Breastfeeding problems were linked to an injection after birth.  The study included 288 mothers who were given an injection, ergotmetrine, to speed up the delivery of the placenta.  Those mothers who were given the injections were prone to more breastfeeding problems and were less likely to be breastfeeding past two weeks. (Breastfeeding Medicine, December 2014, Vol. 9, No. 10, 494-502)

An analysis of more than 36,000 women in 4 continents found that breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer by up to 20%.  Breastfeeding mothers are “about 12% less likely to develop breast cancer” and “the protective benefit could be even higher.” (San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, December 11, 2014)

A study found that 50% of babies who have tongue-tie will not experience any problem.  “Frenulotomy in the newborn is a low-rish procedure performed without anaesthetic” and should be done only by those trained to do so.  The procedure should only be done for the comfort and continuation of breastfeeding.  (“Tongue-tie and frenolotomy in infants with breastfeeding difficulties: achieving a balance,” Archives of Disease in Childhood, doi:10.1136/archdischild-2014-306211)

Exclusive breastfeeding was compared with other forms of infant feeding in children from single births (502,948 singletons) during the years 1997 to 2013 in Scotland.  Those infants who were formula-fed or mixed-fed had more hospitalizations for common childhood illnesses compared with infants exclusively breastfed for 6-8 weeks of age. These childhood illnesses included gastrointestinal, respiratory and urinary tract infections, otitis media, fever, asthma, diabetes, and dental caries. The researchers said in an interview:  “Our findings were consistent with other studies and showed a greater risk of hospital admission amongst infants who were not breastfed particularly within six months of birth… At least one in five hospitalizations for gastrointestinal and lower respiratory tract infections within six months of birth may have been averted (all other factors remaining constant) had all children in the cohort been exclusively breastfed 6 to 8 weeks after birth. The association was also evident beyond six months of birth.” (“Breastfeeding is Associated with Reduced Childhood Hospitalization,” The Journal of Pediatrics, online Dec. 30, 2014)

For 1 million babies every year, their day of birth is also their day of death, accounting for more than a third of neonatal deaths. Evidence shows that when mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, the baby’s risk of neonatal death is reduced by 44 per cent.   Globally, fewer than half of newborns are put to the breast immediately after birth, and even lower proportions are exclusively breastfed during their first six months of life.  Close to 2 million newborns die in the first week of life.  Children born shortly after another sibling are also at greater risk of dying than those born after longer intervals between births….Another important determinant of newborn survival is birth spacing. Children born less than two years after their closest older sibling are nearly twice as likely to die during the first month of life as those born two or three years later.  (“Child Survival” UNICEF, NY, September 2014)
Sheila:  We would save a lot of babies by promoting and teaching ecological breastfeeding.  Mothers would breastfeed immediately, do exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, and would experience the natural spacing of two to three years between babies which God provides for both mother and baby.  It is part of God’s plan, but is often ignored by the medical profession and those involved in church ministry.

Sheila Kippley
Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor
Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood
www.NFPandmore.org

3. Breastfeeding Research, August-September 2014

March 22nd, 2015

Breastfeeding may reduce postpartum depression. A study of 14,000 mothers showed that women who breastfed their babies were at significantly lower risk of postnatal depression than those who did not. In particular, mothers who planned to breastfeed and who actually went on to breastfeed were around 50% less likely to become depressed than mothers who had not planned to, and who did not, breastfeed. Mothers who planned to breastfeed, but who did not go on to breastfeed, were over twice as likely to become depressed as mothers who had not planned to, and who did not, breastfeed.  This study shows that those mothers who want to breastfeed need lots of support. (“New Evidence on Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression: The Importance of Understanding Women’s Intentions,” Maternal and Child Health Journal, online August 2014)

Infant-feeding practices and prevalence of diarrhea and acute respiratory infection (ARI) were obtained from 6,068 mother-child dyads in 11 provinces of Vietnam in 2011. The study found that early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding protects against diarrhea and ARI.  Sadly, only 20% of the babies 0-5 months were exclusively breastfed. (International Breastfeeding Journal  2014, 9:12  doi:10.1186/1746-4358-9-12;1 August 2014)

Two studies in the Pediatrics journal support the benefits of breastfeeding.  Nine months or more of breastfeeding reduced the risk of ear infections by 31%, of throat infections by 32% and of sinus infections by 53% compared to children not breastfed for a long period of time. The study included 1300 children all aged six.  Another study also examined six year olds and found that those breastfed for four or more months had about half the odds of developing a food allergy compare to children who were breastfed for a shorter period of time. The team noted that breastfeeding did not reduce the risk of developing allergies in children from high-risk populations, such as families with a history of allergies.  (“Infant Feeding and Long-Term Outcomes: Results From the Year 6 Follow-Up of Children in the Infant Feeding Practices Study II”, pp-51-53 and “Infant Feeding Practices and Reported Food Allergies at 6 Years of Age”, pp. 521-528, Journal of Pediatrics Vol. 134 No. Supplement; 1 September, 2014)

Breastfeeding mothers may also lose weight!  Researchers tracked the weight of 726 women from pregnancy to six years after giving birth.  Obese women who followed the recommendations to nurse exclusively for the first six months and to breastfeed for at least 12 months experienced a weight loss of 18 pounds after pregnancy.  This was compared to obese mothers who never breastfed. (Journal of Pediatrics, online September 2, 2014)

Black breastfeeding mothers may lower their risk for aggressive breast cancer.  Parous women had a 33% higher risk for ER-negative breast cancer than those who had never given birth, and a 37% higher risk for triple-negative breast cancer. However, breast-feeding lowered the risk for both ER-negative and triple-negative disease.  For every age category in the United States, the incidence of triple-negative breast cancer is higher in black women than in non-Hispanic white women.  Black women have a lower prevalence of breastfeeding.  Hopefully, more black mothers will be encouraged to breastfeed.  (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, online September 15, 2014)

Breastfeeding adds to brain power.  “Researchers compared the fatty acid profiles of breast milk from women in over two dozen countries with how well children from those same countries performed on academic tests. Their findings show that the amount of omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in a mother’s milk is the strongest predictor of test performance. It outweighs national income and the number of dollars spent per pupil in schools.” (“Linoleic and docosahexaenoic acids in human milk have opposite relationships with cognitive test performance in a sample of 28 countries,” (Journal of Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, online September 2014)
Sheila: This study should really be publicized!

The study concludes that “bed-sharing is inappropriate if parents consume alcohol, take drugs or smoke, or if the infant is pre-term.”  Sofa-sharing is not a safe alternative.  The researchers conclude: “The risk of bed-sharing and SIDS in the absence of these hazardous conditions appears to be minimal; more effort therefore needs to go into advising parents on the very real dangers associated with bed-sharing in these particular hazardous conditions.”  (“Bed-Sharing in the Absence of Hazardous Circumstances,” September 19, 2014; DOI: 1371/journal.pone.0107799)
Sheila: Bed-sharing information is available at NFPI links.

Every year one million babies die on the day they are born.  Brazil wanted to tackle this problem because exclusively breastfed children are also 14 times less likely to die in the first six months compared to non-breastfed children.  In many low-income countries, only 39% of children under six months of age are exclusively breastfed.  Since 1985, Brazil started a breast milk donation campaign and has created the largest network of breast milk donors in the world.  “After testing, sorting and pasteurizing, donated milk is often used for infants whose mothers are sick or unable to breastfeed and in hospital neonatal intensive care units, where breast milk can be fed through a tube. With over 150,000 donors, over 155,000 recipients and 214 bank locations, Brazil has created the largest network of breast milk donors in the world.”  It is now estimated that “more than 50 percent of Brazilian mothers exclusively breastfeed for the child’s first month of life, a figure nearly 35 percent higher than the breastfeeding rate in the United States. The results are tangible. Since the campaign’s inception in 1985, Brazil’s infant mortality rate has plummeted by more than two-thirds, from 63.2 deaths per 1,000 births to 19.6 deaths per 1,000 births.” (Elisabeth Epstein, “Brazil’s Inventive Solution to Save Newborns: Breast Milk Banks.” Huffington Post, September 25, 2014)

Sheila Kippley
www.NFPandmore.org

2. Breastfeeding Research, April-June 2014

March 15th, 2015

Breastfeed for more than three months and you may protect your baby from inflammation and heart disease as a young adult!  Chronic inflammation, caused by a hyperactive immune system, has been linked to heart disease and strokes, Type-2 diabetes, late-life disability, and a greater risk of dying.  Researchers noted that higher blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) are a key biomarker for inflammation and predict increased cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk in adulthood.  The levels of CPR were evaluated in almost 7,000 young adults aged from 24 to 32. Their analysis showed that:  1) Lower birth weights and shorter duration of breastfeeding predicted higher CRP levels in young adults, 2) For each extra pound of birth weight, the CRP level in young adulthood was 5% lower, and 3) CPR levels were 20-30% lower in young adults who were breastfed for 3-12 months as babies compared to those who were never breastfed. (“Long-term effects of birth weight and breastfeeding duration on inflammation in early adulthood,”   Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, online 23 April 2014)

Breastfeeding protects children from asthma according to researchers who studied the data from 117 scientific papers over 30 years and involving some 250,000 babies. Breastfeeding cuts the risk of asthma by 37 per cent in infants under three and by 17% for children aged seven and older. (“Breastfeeding and childhood asthma: systemic review and meta-analysis,” The American Journal of Epidemiology, May 15, 2014; 179 (10); 1153-67)

A fluoride study followed about 1000 persons up to the age of 38 from 1972-1973 in the town of Dunedin.  The study concluded that fluoridated water did not affect or lower one’s IQ.  However, the study found that breastfeeding was associated with a child’s high IQ. (“Community Water Fluoridation and Intelligence: Prospective Study in New Zealand” American Journal of Public Health, May 2014)

A medical researcher said exclusive breastfeeding of babies for six months could prevent them from developing cancer later in life.  Dr Bamidele Iwalokun of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research said children denied exclusive breastfeeding in their first six months were prone to cancer.  Why?  Because Lactalbumin, found only in breast milk, is an anti-cancer agent and such a child is deprived of Lactalbumin.  Only about 17% of mothers breastfeed their babies exclusively.  The researcher said:  “Breast milk was the most complete form of nutrition for infants’ health, immunity and development. There is no better substitute than the breast milk for a child in the first six months of life. There is no infant formula that is better than breast milk because in the breast milk you have antibodies that will help defenceless infants to fight the war against diseases that challenge their lives.” (“Breastfeeding can prevent cancer,” Nigerian Tribrune, June 26, 2014)

No adverse effects on IQ could be seen from anti-epileptic drug exposure via breast milk at 6 years of age.  This study involved 181 children and found that “breastfed children exhibited higher IQ and enhanced verbal abilities,” according to the authors.  (JAMA Pediatrics, June 16, 2014)

Sheila Kippley
www.NFPandmore.org
PS:  I had to add this latest news.  This month at the Integrated Reproductive, Mother, Neonatal and Child Health Programme in Lahore, the capital city of Pakistani province of Punjab, it was reported that solid steps had been taken to reduce maternal mortality as well as child mortality up to age five years. Addressing the participants of the meeting, Health Director General Dr Zahid Pervaiz said that if mothers feed their babies for two years, the mortality rate in infants would be reduced as well as natural birth spacing and malnutrition problems would also be solved. He said that reasonable birth spacing could reduce the maternal mortality rate.  If anyone is interested in promoting natural child spacing through breastfeeding, please use the book The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding to send to others, those in the medical or missionary field.  It is a very short, inexpensive book and easy to read.