Why Breastmilk Matters: Information for the Advanced Parent

Breast milk is the doctor recommended source of nutrition for babies, exclusively for the first 6 months and then as the majority source of nutrition for months 6 to 12. While formula powders have come a long way in the past 50 years, and are an essential tool for many a parent, there is simply no replacement for natural, organic mother’s milk. BBy is committed to ensuring that all children regardless of family makeup, creed, religion, race, or ethnicity has access to this most vital of nutrient to grow a healthy and happy baby.

So you’ve read the books, done your research, talked to other parents and somehow found your way onto a parenting blog that’s talking about some new scheme for a soy-chai fig bath that supposed to “de-wrinkle” your baby’s skin. We get it, you’re the type of parent that wants to know everything and anything for your child, but who do you trust? At BBy, we supply you with only the best peer-reviewed, medically sound information; information you can trust. After all, BBy was created by a physician to further the goals of breastmilk adoption and nurturing the future generation of humans.

The Direct Benefits of Breast Milk for Your Infant 

Breastmilk’s most immediate benefit for your child is the immediate affect it has for your child’s gastrointestinal health. Not only increasing gastrointestinal function (gassy babies aren’t happy babies) but also vastly improving defense against infection and disease. When compared to formula, mother’s milk has been shown to actively increase the rate of digestion (gastric emptying), decrease the risk necrotizing enterocolitis and osteomyelitis (infections that kill the cells of the stomach and bone respectively), increase the intestinal lactase activity (especially in premature infants) which cuts down on infantile gastroenteritis and diarrhea (babies love to poop but not nonstop!).

Breastmilk can achieve these critical direct benefits for your child because organic mother’s milk contains components created in the human body. Including hormones like cortisol, somatomedin-C, insulin and thyroid hormones which help with intestinal growth and mucosal function. Growth factors such as insulin-like and epidermal growth factor which ensure the proper development of your child’s intestinal tract and protect against invasive diseases. In babies with hirschsprung’s disease, nerve growth factor can help preserve whatever function is left in the colon. Human milk also contains anti-inflammatory agents, immunoglobulins (IgA and IgG), lipids (fats and oils) and white blood cells that all form the initial passive immunity that a baby needs to fight off the wide variety of stomach infections that a little one is susceptible to. Not all bacteria is bad however! Breastmilk also contains essential probiotics, Bifidobacterial and Lactobacillus, that help colonize the gut and prevent “bad” bacteria such as Streptococci and E. Coli as well harmful as harmful protozoa like Giardia.

Respiratory illnesses are also greatly reduced in babies that are breast fed versus formula. Instances of upper respiratory and lower respiratory illnesses, including Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), leading to a lower instance of asthma and more immediately, hospitalizations. The common ear infection, otitis media has a reduced prevalence in breastfed babies as are there fewer instances of urinary tract infections (due to the above mentioned lower instance of “bad” bacteria. 

The Long-Term Benefits of Breast Milk for Your Infant 

Research suggests that there are many long-term benefits to breast milk for infants, and while there are not 100% definitive answers for this evidence suggests that infants who receive breast milk have fewer instances of acute (short term) diseases throughout their infancy and into their childhood. Breast milk has been linked to lower levels of obesity, cancer, adult coronary heart disease, type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel diseases (crohns disease and ulcerative colitis).

The two things that are not disputed however are general IQ (cognitive development) and infantile stress levels in children who receive breast milk. Children who are breast fed for 7 to 9 months have an average IQ of 106 as compared to the 96 found in formula fed infants. And since breast milk contains trace levels of oxytocin and prolactin from the mother, studies show that infants who receive breast milk are much more likely to be less stressed throughout their infancy especially in situations that involve pain or panic.

As you can see, breast milk isn’t just an option for your child; it is the de facto standard in infant nutrition for at least the first 6 months of life. We are strong advocates for breast milk adoption and BBy is proud to be able to offer nature’s “miracle food” to every child who needs it.