(NaturalHealth365) If you weren’t aware, we are currently in the midst of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW). Kicking off August 2013 Breastfeeding Awareness Month with seven days devoted to the theme, “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers,” – global organizations have united to highlight breastfeeding peer counseling.
According to WBW official website,
The Peer Counseling Program is a cost effective and highly productive way to reach a larger number of mothers more frequently. Peer Counselors can be anyone from the community who is trained to learn to support mothers. Trained Peer Counselors, readily available in the community become the lifeline for mothers with breastfeeding questions and issues. “The key to best breastfeeding practices is continued day-to-day support for the breastfeeding mother within her home and community.
The benefits to baby and mother are profound and it is worth applauding the organizers for their efforts in keeping the Breastfeeding Awareness Month tradition alive.
United States breastfeeding statistics
As mothers unite and bravely challenge the ignorant stigma of nursing in public places, Americans are reporting a steady climb in breastfed babies. The most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that 76.9 percent of mothers initiated breastfeeding in 2009, which is a 2.3 percent increase from the data reported in 2008. This improvement represents the largest annual increase in over a decade. In addition, breastfeeding at six months increased from 44.3 percent to 47.2 percent and breastfeeding at 12 months increased from 23.8 percent to 25.5 percent.
Breastfeeding helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease
One of the most recent advances in breastfeeding research was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease last month. Demonstrating how breastfeeding history affects moms who nurse, the study explains how nursing mothers not only run a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s, their risk is further reduced with longer periods of breastfeeding. The researchers observed that, “Ovarian hormone deprivation and/or insulin sensitivity benefits of breastfeeding may be responsible for the observed reduction in [Alzheimer’s Disease] risk.”
Breast milk: Nature’s first probiotic
A fascinating study published this past March in the journal Microbiology describes a unique phenomenon experienced only when babies nurse. Although mother’s milk is loaded with nutrients and bioactive agents that play pivotal roles in immune function not all of the molecules in are digested. According to researchers, “While major breast milk nutrients such as lactose, lipids and proteins are readily digested and consumed by the infant, other molecules, such as human milk oligosaccharides and glycosylated proteins and lipids, can escape intestinal digestion and transit through the gastrointestinal tract.”
Ultimately these sugars, fats and proteins create a characteristic environment for the composition of developing infant microbes – particularly the Bifidobacterium species – in the intestinal tracts. In turn, the bacteria prevent pathogens from colonization and provide necessary carbon and nitrogen sources for healthy bacteria to commensurate.
Breast milk can kill cancer cells
Cancer patients have been using breast milk as an alternative cancer treatment for years. And just recently science is starting to catch up and prove why it works. According to a recent study out of Sweden a substance found in breast milk has been linked to killing cancer cells.
Researchers concluded that HAMLET (human a-lactalbumin made lethal to tumor cells) works by binding and “altering the morphology of the [cancer] membrane and compromises its integrity, suggesting that membrane perturbation could be an initial step in inducing cell death.”
Big business, corruption, and infant formula
As breastfeeding rates continue to rise, big business aggressively targets middle to low-income families in infant formula campaigns. Ranked #5 of America’s most profitable products, Mead Johnson Nutrition Company’s infant formula Enfamil profited more than $2.3 billion in 2012.
Paradoxically, formula has been associated with elevated social status. In the U.S., it has been reported that poorer households are less likely to nurse and low-income assistance programs offering formula for free makes the matter worse.
This trend has gone global. Big business has specifically targeted low-income Asian mothers is currently convincing them that breast milk is not sufficient for their babies. In the slums of Jakarta, Indonesia, for instance, various sources report that many low-income families mix formula with contaminated water and spend money they can ill-afford on breast milk substitutes.
The madness must stop!
This global trend needs to stop. It is insanity to consider GMO and soy-laden formula as superior to precious breast milk, yet Mead Johnson and other formula conglomerates are doing just that.
A big “thank you” to all nursing moms!
To reinforce the paradigm that “breast is best,” the first thing we must do is give our heartfelt appreciation and honor to nursing moms. They are the front lines in our battle against sickness and disease and hopefully our communities will transform to offer support and make nursing more convenient for moms.
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