Archive for the ‘Breastfeeding Research 2018’ Category

Natural Family Planning: Breastfeeding Research published July-Sept. 2018

Sunday, February 17th, 2019

Obesity protection
A large national study has shown exclusive breastfeeding in the first three months of life provides protection against infants becoming overweight at one year of age.  Researchers in Canada studied ovdr 1000 babies and found a 63% increased risk of becoming overweight among infnats who were partially (versus exclusively) breastfed at three months of age, and a 102% increased risk among exclusively formula-fed infants.  As one researcher said: “Breastfeeding is one of the most influential factors in shaping the infant gut microbiome.” JAMA Pediatrics, online only, July 2, 2018.

Importance of the first year
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition of England reported their recommendation on feeding in the first year of life due to the many benefits of breastfeeding.  The recommendations were 1) exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, 2) continued breastfeeding for the first year of life, and 3) wait until six months before introducing solid foods.  July 17, 2018.

First hour
Three in five babies, mostly born in low- and middle-income countries, are not breastfed within the first hour of life, placing them at higher risk of death and disease.  “When it comes to the start of breastfeeding, timing is everything.  In many countries, it can even be a matter of life or death,” said Henrietta Fore, the UNICEF Executive Director.  UNICEF and WHO note that newborns who breastfeed in the first hour of life are significantly more likely to survive.  They estimate that 78 million newborns are excluded.  United Nations report, July 31, 2018.

Fewer maternal strokes
Postmenopausal women who report ever having breastfed have a 23% reduced risk for a stroke later in life compared with those who had children but never breastfed, a new observational study suggests. For non-Hispanic black women, that risk is as much as 48% lower after adjustment for other stroke risk factors, the researchers note. “Breastfeeding History and Risk of Stroke Among Parous Postmenopausal Women in the Women’s Health Initiative,” Jounral of the American Heart Association, August 22, 2018.

Antibiotic use in pregnancy was a risk factor for childhood asthma. However, this risk may be reduced by exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life, especially among high-risk children. “The effect of breastfeeding on the risk of asthma in high-risk children: a case control study in Shanghai, China,” BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, August 23, 2018.

Mrs Chimay Thompson, the Assistant Director, Nutrition Division, Family Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health, has said improving the nation’s breastfeeding practices could save 100,000 lives in Nigeria yearly.  Interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, September 8, 2018.

Donor human milk helped
WHO recommends donor human milk for infant feeding when mother’s milk is not available.  Although detailed medical records were not always available, the case studies provide anecdotal evidence of the protective effects of donor human milk against failure to thrive, diarrhoea, atopic dermatitis, and opportunistic infections. “Using donor human milk to feed vulnerable term infants: a case series in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa,” International Breastfeeding Journal, September 10, 2018.

Premature babies
Premature babies born before 33 weeks gestation showed better brain development when fed breast milk rather than formula milk. Babies who exclusively received breast milk for at least three-quarters of the days they spent in the hospital showed improved brain connectivity compared with others.  “Breast milk may be best for premature babies’ brain development,” NeuroImage, September 22, 2018.

Resistant bacteria
A new study has found that babies who are breastfed for six months have fewer antibiotic resistant bacteria in their guts.  What is antibiotic-resistant bacteria? Antibiotic resistant bacteria are bacteria that are not controlled or killed by antibiotics. They are able to survive and even multiply in the presence of an antibiotic. Most infection-causing bacteria can become resistant to at least some antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health problem. The biggest concern with antibiotic resistance is that some bacteria that can cause serious diseases have already become resistant to almost all of the easily available antibiotics.  Although breast milk does contain bacteria that’s resistant to antibiotics, it’s the sugar in the milk that is  beneficial. These sugars, like Bifidobacteria, provide sustenance to “good” gut bacteria, which work like probiotics for babies. “Maternal gut and breast milk microbiota affect gut antibiotic resistome and mobile genetic elements,” Nature Communications, September 24, 2018.





Natural Family Planning: Breastfeeding Research published in April and May 2018

Sunday, February 10th, 2019

Mortality prevention
Breastfeeding all babies for the first two years would save the lives of more than 820,000 children under age 5 annually.  In many hospitals and communities around the world, whether a child can be breastfed or not can make the difference between 1) life and death and 2 whether a child will develop to reach his or her full potential. Joint Press Release, WHO and UNICEF, Geneva, April 11, 2018

Childhood leukemia
Any breastfeeding for 6 months or longer was associated with a 19% lower risk for childhood leukemia. “A causal mechanism for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia,” Nature Reviews Cancer, May 21, 2018.

New evidence that human breast milk is packed with immune cells ready to attack bad bacteria, “Presence and Profile of Innate Lymphoid Cells in Human Breast Milk,” JAMA Pediatrics, May 2018.

Breast cancer
The evidence shows that, in general, the greater the number of months that women continue breastfeeding their babies, the greater the protection these women have against breast cancer.  The goal is to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months and then up to two years of age or beyond alongside appropriate complementary foods.  Cancer Prevention Recommendation by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, 2018.

Maternal blood pressure
Women who breastfeed more children, and for longer periods of time, are less likely to experience high blood pressure, or hypertension, after they reach menopause.  “Breastfeeding and Maternal Hypertension,”  American Journal of Hypertension, May 7, 2018.

Too many babies are not breastfed.
Babies in wealthy countries are five times more likely to miss out on breastfeeding than those in the under-developed, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday, May 10th, explaining that this gap could be addressed by better support for working mothers, and regulating sales of infant formula.  Each year some 7.6 million babies across the world are not breastfed despite clear evidence that breastfeeding can save lives and protect babies and mothers against deadly diseases. Breastfeeding is the best gift a mother, rich or poor, can give her child. The US alone accounts for more than one-third of the 2.6 million babies in high-income countries who were never breastfed. UNICEF, May 10, 2018.

For those concerned about the February meeting of bishops, see John’s article for Catholic World Report where he submits that Humana Vitae and dissent need to be on the table at the Feb. meeting.






Natural Family Planning: Breastfeeding Research published in Jan., Feb. and Mar. 2018

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019

Atopic eczema
Prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding may reduce the risk of atopic eczema in adolescence. JAMA Pediatrics, online only, January 2, 2018.

Type 2 diabetes
A 30-year study concluded that moms who breastfed up to six months had a 25 percent lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes than those who didn’t nurse, and women who breastfed for six months or more reduced their risk of developing the disease by 47 percent. Moreover, researchers found that the most benefits came from nursing 12 months or longer when compared with those women who didn’t breastfeed at all.  “Lactation Duration and Progression to Diabetes in Women Across the Childbearing Years,” JAMA Internal Medicine, January 16, 2018.

Peanut sensitivity
This study investigated the relationship between maternal peanut consumption while breast-feeding, timing of direct peanut introduction, and peanut sensitization at age 7 years. The lowest incidence of peanut sensitization (1.7%) was observed among children whose mothers consumed peanuts while breast-feeding and directly introduced peanuts before 12 months. “Reduced risk of peanut sensitization following exposure through breastfeeding and early peanut introduction,” The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, February 2018.

Heart disease
Women who breastfed for six months or more had higher levels of HDL (aka the good cholesterol), lower triglycerides as well as a healthier carotid artery thickness versus the women who had never breastfed.  Breastfeeding might reduce mom’s risk for heart disease later in life. American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session, March 2018.

Infant mortality
Not breastfeeding according to recommendation in Indonesia is estimated to contribute to 5377 preventable infant deaths due to diarrhea and pneumonia/respiratory disease  per year.  The recommendation in Indonesia consists of early initiation of breastfeeding (within the first hour of birth), exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and continued age appropriate breastfeeding at two years (accompanied by iron-rich complementary foods).  “The annual cost of not breastfeeding in Indonesia: the economic burden of treating diarrhea and respiratory disease among children (< 24mo) due to not breastfeeding according to recommendation,” International Breastfeeding Journal, March 2, 2018.

Mortality prevention
Breastfeeding could prevent 823,000 annual deaths in children under 5 years and 20,000 annual deaths from breast cancer among other well documented benefits.  World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, International Women’s Day, March 8, 2018.

Overweight infants
The risk of becoming overweight or obese decreased significantly if high-birthweight infants were exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life.  The Endocrine Society, 100th annual meeting, Chicago,  “Breastfeeding may protect high-birthweight infants from childhood obesity.” March 18, 2018.