Breastfeeding Research: October 2017

April 29th, 2018

The infant brain undergoes rapid development in the first year of life, and this development is strongly influenced by nutritional factors. Another important effect of maternal milk feeding is to extend the period of maternal care. An infant’s brain development is also influenced by mother–infant interactions. Breastfeeding mothers spend more time engaged in the infant’s emotional care than mothers who feed their infants with formula. Also it appears that preterm infants benefit in their neurodevelopment from maternal milk feeding but not from donor milk. In both full-term and preterm populations, evidence is compelling that breastfeeding or maternal milk feeding benefits child neurodevelopment. Breastfeeding Medicine, October 1, 2017.

A review of thirteen studies has found strong evidence to suggest that a woman’s breast cancer risk is reduced if she breastfeeds her children. For every 5 months of breast-feeding duration, there is a 2 percent lower risk of breast cancer. Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Breast Cancer, October 4, 2017.

Breastfeeding reduced a woman’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 14 per cent, and the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was about 34 per cent lower. The longer a woman breastfed, the lower their risk. A woman who breastfed for 12 to 24 months had a 16 per cent lower risk of developing CVD. Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study forum, Sydney, October 24, 2017.

Breastfeeding may help you bond more closely with your baby, with the effects persisting up until at least the age of 11. Journal of Developmental Psychology, online October 30, 2017.

The Obesity Society (TOS) stated that women should be encouraged and supported to exclusively breastfeed for approximately the first six months of an infant’s life with continued breastfeeding through the infant’s first year and beyond as age-appropriate complementary foods are introduced and as mutually desired by the mother and child. Women who breastfed are observed to have lower risks of visceral adiposity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and subclinical cardiovascular disease, as well as cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, perhaps through mechanisms independent of any effect on adiposity. As compared to infants never breastfed, breastfed infants have a 12 to 24% reduction in the future risk of overweight/obesity. The Obesity Society Position Statement : Breastfeeding and Obesity, October 31, 2017.

Sheila Kippley

Breastfeeding Research: August and September 2017

April 22nd, 2018

Babies who were exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months were less likely to have teeth alignment issues such as open bites, crossbites, and overbites, than those exclusively breast fed for shorter lengths of time or not at all. Journal of American Dental Association, August 2017.

The impact of maternal breastfeeding on the mental acuity of 11,544 children born in the United Kingdom in 2000–01 was studied. Using data from British Ability Scale tests, the researcher found the positive effect of breastfeeding was two to two-and-a-half times greater for children with the lowest test scores, compared to those with the highest. What’s more, he reported that the impact was larger for those who were breastfed longer. Social Science & Medicine, August 2017.

Breastfeeding is a vital part of providing every child with the healthiest start to life. It is a baby’s first vaccine and the best source of nutrition. It can bolster brain development. Breastfeeding could save more than 520,000 children’s lives annually under the age of 5 who die of preventable illnesses and could generate up to $300 billion in economic gains.  WHO and UNICEF recommend mothers breastfeed infants within the first hour of birth, exclusively for six months and continue breastfeeding, while adding complementary foods, until the child is at least 2-years-old. Breastfeeding has a host of health benefits, most notably improving a baby’s immunity and protecting infants from potentially deadly diseases. WHO and UNICEF, August 1, 2017.

Researchers found an 8 percent reduced risk of endometriosis for every 3 additional months of breastfeeding per pregnancy. This figure was even higher (14 percent) for women who exclusively breastfed for those months. They also found that women who had breastfed for a total of 36 months or more during their reproductive lifetime had a 40 percent reduced risk of endometriosis compared with women who had never breastfed. British Medical Journal, August 29, 2017.

Breastfeeding nearly halves the risk of an asthma attack. The researchers analysed 960 children aged between four and 12 years old who regularly use asthma medication. Breastfeeding reduces asthma attacks by 45%. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, September 6, 2017.

A beneficial bacterium found in breastfed babies works by reducing inflammation that leads to necrotizing enterocolitis—a disease that destroys intestinal tissue and kills 20 to 30 percent of premature infants who get the disease. The findings support the idea that human breast milk is crucial to controlling the inflammation that can lead to necrotizing enterocolitis. Journal of Clinical Investigation, September 25, 2017.

Sheila Kippley

Breastfeeding Research: May, June and July 2017

April 15th, 2018

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of endometrial or uterine cancer. Obstetrics & Gynecology, June 2017.

Breastfeeding more than 6 months reduced the risk of childhood obesity. Childhood Obesity, June 2017.

Mothers who breastfed had a 9 percent lower risk of heart disease and an 8 percent lower risk of stroke, compared to mothers who did not breastfeed. Mothers who breastfed for two years or more had an 18 percent lower risk of heart disease and 17 percent lower risk of stroke, than those who never breastfed. Journal of the American Heart Association, June 21, 2017.

A study sought to find the role of breast milk and breastfeeding in establishing infant gut microbial communities, and it found that breast milk contributes 27.7% and breastfeeding an additional 10.4% (from the areolar skin) of the bacteria to the infant gut in the first 30 days of life. Breastfeeding was found to suppress bacteria associated with obesity and to increase bacteria associated with a lower incidence of asthma. The recommendation was that mothers should exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and continue to breastfeed for at least 12 months.
JAMA Pediatrics, July 2017.

Women who had breastfed a cumulative period of 15 months or longer, either following one pregnancy or across several pregnancies, had the lowest risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Women with MS who breastfeed exclusively are at lower risk of postpartum relapses. Neurology, July 12, 2017.

In Japanese women with gestational diabetes, high-intensity breastfeeding for at least 6 months and more had a protective effect against the development of abnormal glucose tolerance during the first year postpartum through improving insulin resistance, independent of obesity and postpartum weight change. International Breastfeeding Journal, July 14, 2017.

Fatty acids consumed during breastfeeding may provide babies protection against type 1 diabetes-associated autoimmunity. Diabetologia, July 2017.

More than 5 million newborns in Nigeria are deprived of essential nutrients and antibodies against diseases and death because they are not being exclusively breastfed. Research shows that an exclusively breastfed child in Nigeria is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-breastfed child and that breastfeeding drastically reduces deaths from acute respiratory infection and diarrhea, two major child-killer diseases. Babies who are fed nothing but breast milk from the moment they are born until they are six months old develop better. Breast milk gives a child a head start in life and a chance to fight child malnutrition later in life. UNICEF, July 30, 2917.

Sheila Kippley