A Review of the Breastfeeding Research Published May–June 2016

February 19th, 2017

Researchers found that three specific types of antibodies are present in breast milk and promote peace between the immune system and common gut-dwelling bacteria by putting the damper on inflammatory responses.   The top researcher said:  “This study provides real evidence that breast milk is important for a newborn’s health.  Breastfeeding helps to instruct the newborn’s immune system on how to appropriately respond to non-pathogenic bacteria, many of which may reside in the gut for a lifetime.”  (Cell, May 5, 2016)

Six months of exclusive breastfeeding will save lives.  For every 1000 births, 128 Nigerian children die before their fifth birthday.  Breastfeeding can reduce child mortality by 12%. (Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre training session, May 2016)

Kawasaki disease (KD) is the most common cause of childhood-acquired heart disease in developed countries. However, the etiology of KD is not known.  The researchers observed protective effects of breastfeeding on the development of KD during the period from 6 to 30 months of age in a nationwide, population-based, longitudinal survey in Japan, the country in which KD is most common. (Journal of Pediatrics, June 2016)

Babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months are 56% less likely to have conduct disorders by ages 7-11 compared to those infants exclusively breastfed for less than 1 month.  (PLOS Medicine, June 21, 2016)

Sepsis is the most common cause of neonatal mortality. It is responsible for about 30%-50% of the total neonatal deaths in developing countries.  It is estimated that up to 20% of neonates develop sepsis which is largely preventable by the early initiation of breastfeeding.  Infant deaths can be reduced by 22% by initiating breastfeeding within one hour after childbirth.  (International Journal of Contemporary Medical Research, June 2016)

Sheila Kippley








A Review of the Breastfeeding Research Published in February–April 2016

February 12th, 2017

Mothers who sleep with their baby are more likely to breastfeed for more than six months compared to mothers who place their baby in a cot and are likely to breastfeed for less than six months.  (Acta Paediatrica, February 5, 2016)
Sheila: Safe co-sharing sleep between mother and baby can be found at “links” at www.NFPandmore.org.

One in three Nigeria children were not breastfed at all.  This study found “inappropriate breastfeeding, no breastfeeding at all and complementary feeding practice” coupled with high rates of infections” which led to a high burden of malnutrition.  Again the health issue is to support and promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.  (Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health, Civil Society Scaling-Up in Nigeria, March 2016)
Sheila:  Those who support missionaries should encourage them to promote and support breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months.

Higher rates of breastfeeding, use of vaccinations and lower rates of smoking by mothers have reduced the rates of ear infections during the first year of a baby.  It is not just breastfeeding, but the researchers said that not being breastfed is a major risk factor for ear infections in babies. (Pediatrics, March 2016)

Researchers investigated the contributions of overall breastfeeding duration and exclusive breastfeeding in reducing the risk of hospitalization for infectious causes.  Data involved over 10,000 UK women. The main outcome measure was risk of overnight hospital admission in the first 8–10 months of infancy.  Exclusive breastfeeding in the initial weeks after childbirth and continuing to breastfeed (either exclusively or partially) for at least 3 months, preferably 6 months, is likely to reduce morbidity due to infectious illness in infants. (Maternal & Child Nutrition, March 24, 2016)

Babies who are breastfed for at least the first six months of life have a lower chance of developing liver disease during adolescence. A minimum of six months of exclusive breastfeeding can cut down the risk of adolescent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) by a third. (The International Liver Congress 2016, April 13-17, Barcelona, Spain; Also European Association for the Study of the Liver, Liver Tree, April 15, 2016)

Exclusive breastfeeding was associated with a lower mortality during the first 6 months of life.  Almost 100,000 infants from Ghana, India and Tanzania were included in this study. (The Lancet Global Health, April 2016)

The total number of months a mother breastfeeds all of her children, the more protection from diabetes she is likely to receive. Children who are breastfed also appear to be at reduced risk for diabetes.  Studies were provided.  (“Beat Diabetes,” World Health Day, April 7, 2016)

Extremely low birthweight infants (ELBW infants), had an increased risk of necrotizing enterocolitis when not fed predominantly human milk. Efforts to support milk production by mothers of ELBW infants may prevent infant deaths and reduce costs. (Journal of Pediatrics, April 27, 2016)

Breastfeeding premature babies ensures their brains grow to the same size as full term infants.  These images were used to evaluate both the brain volume and the surface area of the cortex of their brains.  Results showed the more days a baby was breastfed in the month after its birth the more total brain tissue volume and cortical surface area they had near the time of their full-term date. (Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting, April 30-May 3, Baltimore)

Sheila Kippley

A Review of the Breastfeeding Research Published in January 2016

February 5th, 2017

Breastfeeding and natural childbirth produce healthier babies.  The research indicates that the bacterial life in the infant’s gastrointestinal tract differs in infants born vaginally from that of infants arriving through cesarean deliveries, and a similar degree of difference shows up between the guts of exclusively breastfed infants and infants who exclusively eat formula or eat a combination of formula and breastmilk.  This supports the recommendation of medical organizations to promote “exclusive breast milk feeding beginning at birth in hospitals and birthing centers and the avoidance of formula supplementation unless deemed medically necessary.” (JAMA Pediatrics. Published online January 11, 2016)

The scaling up of breastfeeding to a near universal level could prevent 823,000 annual deaths in children younger than 5 years, equivalent to 13% of all deaths in children under two, and 20,000 annual deaths from breast cancer. Women in high income countries have a shorter duration of breastfeeding compared to those women in low or middle income countries.  Even in the latter, only 37% of children younger than 6 months of age are exclusively breastfed.  I was glad to see that this study mentioned that breastfeeding improves birth spacing. Governments need to promote and support breastfeeding.  The authors make it clear that breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for children and mothers regardless of where they live.  They clearly regret that it has been overlooked as a critical need for the health of the population.  (The Lancet, Volume 387, No. 10017, p. 475-490, January 2016)

Breastfeeding protects very low weight infants.  Breast milk was more effective than formula at improving the weight of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. Feeding with formula increased the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis, invasive infection and morbidity among ELBW infants.  Interestingly, 100% of the infants fed formula had infections.  This study took place in Romania.  (Singapore Medical Journal, January 6, 2016)

Breastfeeding has many health benefits, both in the short term and the longer term, to infants and their mothers.  Infants’ cognitive development is improved by breastfeeding.  The IQ is increased in infants who are breastfed for longer than six months by 3 to 5 points.  Infants who are breastfed and mothers who breastfeed have lower rates of obesity. Long-term benefits to breastfeeding mothers include reduced rates of ovarian cancer, reduced pre-menopausal breast cancer, and reduced type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  (Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health, January 28, 2016)

Breast milk is being studied in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.  Scientists have converted a breast milk protein into an artificial virus that kills bacteria on contact.  The protein, called lactoferrin, effectively kills bacteria, fungi and even viruses on contact.  Scientists re-engineered it into a virus-like capsule that can recognize and target specific bacteria and damage them on contact, but without affecting any surrounding human cells.  It is hopeful that this finding will lead to treating previously incurable diseases.  (Chemical Science, January 15, 2016)

Sheila Kippley