The Los Angeles Times investigates the advantages of breastfeeding. Here’s a rather convincing excerpt. Take a look:
The researchers found that breast-fed babies had fewer ear, gastrointestinal tract, and severe lower respiratory tract infections than formula-fed ones and were less prone to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), obesity, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, early-childhood asthma and atopic dermatitis (a skin disorder that causes eczema).I think its best to reiterate Dr. Fuhrman’s point from yesterday’s post on peanut allergies. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Though the reductions were as large as 72% (for severe lower respiratory tract infections), the report states that none of its findings imply causality.
This inability to prove cause and effect is a problem that plagues virtually all breast-feeding research. The problem is that women who breast-feed, as a whole, are very different from their bottle-feeding counterparts: wealthier, older and more educated, for starters. Although researchers are able to adjust their results for such factors, there's no way to adjust for every difference. Women who breast-feed are probably more health-conscious in numerous ways, which could explain why breast-fed children tend to be healthier.
The evidence is more suggestive in some areas than in others. "It's well proven that breast-feeding is effective at reducing infections in the newborn period, as long as children continue to be breast-fed," said Dr. Lawrence Gartner, past chairman of the AAP's breast-feeding group. The reason is that breast milk contains antibodies and other agents that prevent bacteria, toxins and viruses the baby has swallowed from attaching to the lining of the throat and gut.
He said that the research was "not nearly as good" for the other claims. One reason is that fewer studies have been done; another is that how breast milk might offer protection is less clear.
Allergies are increasing because women do not breast feed long enough...The antibodies derived from mother’s milk are necessary for maximizing immune system function, maximizing intelligence, and protecting against immune system disorders, allergies, and even cancer.In the end, it’s the mother’s choice.