Thursday, April 03, 2008

Dr. Mercola on Breastfeeding

(The following I found on Dr. Mercola's website and I wanted to share it with others. Yoana is breastfeeding Marianna and thank God she is)

Breast milk is the perfect food for a newborn baby; it is made by nature and absolutely nothing has been overlooked. For a newborn, one of the biggest benefits is that breast milk transfers antibodies, or immune molecules, to your baby that give them automatic immunity to illnesses that the mother is immune to. This is just what a new baby, whose immune system is not yet mature, needs.

Another quite remarkable benefit of breast milk is that the opposite also holds true. So if your baby is exposed to a new infection the organism will get transferred to the mother via breastfeeding, and the mother will make antibodies to fight the germ. Those specific antibodies then get transferred back to your baby at the next feeding thus improving their immune response.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding are Seemingly Endless -- For Baby AND Mom

Along with the added protection against type 2 diabetes, studies have found that breastfed infants have extra protection against:

* Heart disease
* Immune system cancers such as lymphoma
* Bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease
* Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
* Asthma and allergies
* Respiratory infections
* Eczema
* Type 1 diabetes

Breastfed infants also tend to have higher intelligence and a lower risk of obesity than formula-fed infants.

On top of that, breastfeeding is a mutually beneficial experience for moms and babies. In fact, women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers and osteoporosis later in life. They are also able to return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster (breastfeeding uses up about 500 calories a day!).

What are Your Rights as a Breastfeeding Mom?

Despite the undeniable benefits, in the United States breastfeeding is still not as widely accepted as it should be. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among infants born in 2004 (the most recent data available):

* 74% were ever breastfed
* 42% were still breastfeeding at 6 months of age
* 21% were breastfeeding at 1 year of age
* 31% were exclusively breastfed through 3 months of age
* 11% were exclusively breastfed through 6 months of age

So while over 70 percent of moms begin breastfeeding right after birth, only 11 percent are still doing it exclusively six months later. This means that most children are not receiving the benefits that come from exclusive breastfeeding in the first months of life.

Even the CDC states, "Compared with breastfeeding combined with formula feeding, exclusive breastfeeding provides more protection against lower respiratory tract infections, acute otitis media [ear infections], atopic dermatitis [skin irritation], and childhood obesity."

There are, of course, hurdles for many women who would like to breastfeed exclusively, particularly since not all workplaces and public areas are as open to it as they should be.

Which is why, if you are a woman who wishes to breastfeed, you must know your rights.

As of January 2008, the National Conference of State Legislatures states that 39 states have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. These states are:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming


* 21 states exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws
* 14 states have laws that address breastfeeding in the workplace
* 12 states exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty

To find out the laws in your state, La Leche League International has compiled an excellent list of breastfeeding legislation in the United States, which you can search by state.

So please do not assume that you are not “allowed” to breastfeed in public or at work. In most states, it is actually against the law to try to prohibit you from this natural act.

If you want to give your child the best start nutritionally, ideally you will breastfeed exclusively for the first six months. Breastfeeding should then be continued at least for the first year, and The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding until your child is 2 years old or older.

For Moms Who Can’t Breastfeed

As natural as breastfeeding is, a small percentage of women are unable to breastfeed due to physical reasons. This can be an extremely emotional issue, as many women then feel they have “failed” their child in this way. But in no way should you ever blame yourself for an inability to breastfeed.

New moms who are experiencing difficulty breastfeeding can first contact a lactation consultant to rule out any problems with positioning or routine that may be interfering. If, however, you are simply unable to breastfeed, remember that you are still doing the best you can for your child.


Lauren said...


I am so impressed that as a father you are taking such an active role in encouraging breast feeding. Many men don't really grasp how important this is. I saw this article this morning. This is wonderful that you put this on your blog.

I was lucky enough to breast feed Lyla until she was 13 months. It was very hard to stop, but when it's time, it's time.

It's so true about how it protects their immune system. Lyla hardly ever got sick her first year. Now that I have stopped she gets colds much more frequently.

Thanks again!

Dr. Mark Cheng said...

Brother Franz,

I'm right there with you. I actually asked Courtney before we got married whether or not she'd breastfeed. If the answer was 'no', I was going to drop the axe.

Certain things are almost indisputable in their benefit. Breastfeeding is one of them, and I can't imagine anyone wanting to deny their child such benefit.

Franz Snideman said...


That is awesome you were able to breatfeed Lyla for 13 months. My twin brother and I were never breast fed I have always felt that we have struggled with immune issues our whole lives because of it!

So interesting how Lyla didn't get sick while breastfeeding but then got sick once you stopped!

Franz Snideman said...


Thank God your wife answered correctly!!!

Yeah...I've never understood why someone would not want to breastfeed their child....the research and benefits are too plentiful to ignore!

Pete said...


Good posts already, so no need to parrot, except to say what a beautiful daughter, your Marianna! My wife also breast fed, and the benefits are extremely obvious. We also pumped in order to allow me to feed her breast milk, and have that connection with feeding her. That one to one, eye to eye, verbal and non-verbal communication is so very special. You will miss it when that time comes. My little one is into her Elmo/Dora/Lightning McQueen bowls and plates already, and telling me she is not a baby anymore! :(

Lauren said...

I wasn't breast fed either! But it just wasn't as popular back then and the breast pumps were not as good either. So it was harder to be a working mom and keep your milk up. It's much more doable now, but it definitely takes LOTS of work.

In response to Pete, he is so right about the pumping. I hope you get a chance to feed Marianna. The connection you get from feeding her that bottle, of pumped milk, is just impossible to describe. Ben looked forward to it every day. It was his time with her.

Yoana said...

I am so blessed that I have been able to breastfeed Marianna. It is something AMAZING!!!! Any thing can describe the incredible connection we get together.
I don't understand any woman that doesn't want to enjoy this part of life.

It is hard to say how I feel since Marianna came into my life. She is SO perfect.

I am very blessed that I have Marianna and the most wonderful husband I could have had.

I love you my love!

Franz Snideman said...

Thanks Pete!

I will do my best to savor every moment with my daughter! And I am feeding her as well when I get the chance. So special!

Franz Snideman said...


Yeah, Yoana pumps the milk and I get to help with the feedings. So much fun!

Franz Snideman said...


Thank you baby! I am blessed to have you as my wife! And we are blessed to have Marianna. What a gift from God!

I love you!

Dustin Silveri, RKC, ATS said...

We just had our little boy and it truely is amazing how good breast milk is! We have taken many birthing classes, and that article is spot on, didnt know the part about the transfer from baby to mom, and then back again though. That was new to me

good read!

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