Subscribe in a reader

Breastfeeding: Yet another benefit discovered

This past week, I read with interest about a big study conducted at McGill University about how breast feeding raises a child's IQ and improves their academic performance. Dr. Michael Kramer, a professor of pediatrics at McGill University, and his colleagues followed 14,000 kids for 6.5 years and performed a number of IQ tests including testing the child's proficiency in reading, writing, mathematics and other subjects. Those who were were breastfed exclusively for an extended period performed the best.

I read a response to this research by a mother who felt that this research should not be published as mothers should be able to choose whether they breastfeed or bottle feed their own children.

Now I definitely empathize with some of the guilt that some mothers may be feeling. Breastfeeding can be a challenging task. I've heard new mothers tell me about the troubles they've had........sore nipples, not producing enough milk, latching problems with the baby, etc. These are some of the reasons mothers give for why they switch to baby formula instead of breast milk. During my internship as a naturopathic doctor, I have had the privilege of observing and preceptoring with Dr. Jack Newman, a pediatrician and breastfeeding expert who coaches new mothers who are having difficulties breastfeeding. What I learnt is that the concerns listed above and many more can be easily resolved with proper coaching.

Before you give up on breastfeeding, please consult a lactation consultant. You can find one from the La Leche League website:

The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.

Below are some of the benefits of breastfeeding as listed by Toronto public health:

Best for babies
  • is human milk for human babies
  • helps to prevent constipation
  • helps to protect against childhood diabetes and childhood obesity
  • helps to protect against ear, chest and stomach infections
  • helps to protect against allergies and asthma
  • helps to protect against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • helps to prevent tooth decay
  • may lead to smarter children
  • may lower the risk of developing breast cancer in adulthood (new study)
Best for mothers
  • promotes closeness and bonding of mother and baby
  • helps the uterus to return to its normal size after birth
  • helps to control bleeding after birth
  • helps to protect against breast cancer and ovarian cancer
  • helps to keep bones strong
  • helps with weight loss after birth
  • halves risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (newest study)
Best for families
  • saves money
  • saves time – breast milk is always fresh and ready
  • does not produce any garbage

No comments: