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UPI Summary of Breastfeeding Advantages

Easy Steps to a Safer Pregnancy - View e-book or Download PDF - FREE!
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.

Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy

These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.

From: C-upi@clari.net (UPI / LIDIA WASOWICZ, UPI Science Writer)
Subject: Mom's milk is baby's best defense
Organization: Copyright 1997 by United Press International
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 1997 2:31:10 PDT
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- This week is the sixth annual World Breastfeeding Week, dedicated to informing moms their milk is baby's best defense against disease.

Researchers say nursing babies suffer far fewer middle-ear infections, allergies, respiratory problems, gastrointestinal disorders and other illnesses than those on the bottle.

Dr. Charles Clevenger of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia says, ``Breast milk is much more than just food. It's also a bioactive compound containing antibodies that defend against infection and hormones and growth factors that direct the infant's immune system to develop fully and appropriately.''

Clevenger's studies have shown the hormone prolactin -- responsible for growth and differentiation of the breast during puberty, pregnancy and lactation -- also plays a key role in stimulating immune-system cells in the infant.

Other studies show breast-fed babies respond more effectively to vaccines than do bottle-fed ones, perhaps because certain antibodies in breast milk may mimic bacterial and viral proteins.

Other research shows the presence of more than a dozen cytokines in breast milk. Cytokines are proteins secreted by various cells that stimulate, inhibit or otherwise regulate immune-system cells.

Breast milk has very high concentrations of complex carbohydrates, and some of these have been shown to have immune properties, too.

Doctors say while there are times when formula is preferable to breast milk -- such as when the mother is HIV-positive but the child is not -- these cases are rare. Yet, they point out, only 53 percent of all U.S. women breast-feed their children.

This Web page is referenced from another page containing related information about Breastfeeding/Nursing/Infant Nutrition


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