BREAST FEEDING FOR RAISING HEALTHY CHILDREN
by Lawrence Wilson, MD
© February 2012, The Center For Development.
Breastfeeding is the single most important item needed after birth to produce a healthy child. Mother’s milk is uniquely suited for the growth of a human child. No other milk or food is nearly as good if one wants one’s child to be in the best of health throughout life.
Mother’s milk is a rich source of many, many nutrients, antibodies and much more. Calcium and vitamin D in mother’s milk, for example, create a strong and properly calcified skeleton and a properly functioning nervous system.
Amino acids build body proteins. Fatty acids, such as DHA, in particular, and many others as well, create brain tissue and are needed for cell membranes and many other body tissues as well. Other nutrients in mother’s milk include all the vitamins, minerals and even some that are not yet catalogued by nutritionists and scientists.
Mother’s milk also is just the right temperature and a consistency that is not too watery, yet not too thick or difficult to eat. It is also generally free of harmful bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms that can be in tap water used to make formula. Many other reasons for breastfeeding exist, including the psychological benefits for both mother and child. It is a shame this is not taken for granted.
Colostrum. This is the first milk that comes when the baby is born. It is the finest milk in the sense that it contains special immunoglobins and other substances that help prepare the intestinal tract of the baby to receive all food items in the future.
Recall that until a baby begins to feed, the intestinal tract is not in use, since all nutrition and development depends on the blood that flows from the placenta to the baby through its naval or bellybutton area. Thus the intestinal tract must be primed, so to speak, with bacteria and other flora in order for it to work correctly.
For this reason, the horrible practice of starting a newborn on formula in the hospital if the mother cannot begin to breastfeed immediately is a totally insane practice that causes lots of illnesses in babies, mainly food-related allergies and others.
Every effort should be made to assist a baby to obtain colostrum immediately when he or she want to begin feeding. There is no reason to force this process, as the baby may require rest or sleep for hours after a difficult delivery, or any birth, for that matter.
Every effort should also be made to assist the mother to start breast feeding, since the colostrum is the finest product for the baby. If the mother cannot breastfeed and the baby is calling for milk, another woman should be found to offer some milk, preferably, before resorting to formula. This may sound unclean, but it is far healthier in most cases than formula of any kind and would result in far healthier babies.
In many nations formula is given out to hospitals and birthing centers at no charge by companies that want to “hook” the babies on the taste of formula. Then they will never want to breastfeed. This supports the formula company, but does nothing beneficial for the child or the mother. The mother is left with engorged breasts and a colicky child in most instances. We can only hope that the practice of giving formula in the hospital to newborns will be abandoned sometime soon, though I doubt it as it is “convenient” and inexpensive.
Here is a chart borrowed from www.mercola.com:
HOW LONG SHOULD ONE BREASTFEED?
Breastfeeding should continue for between two and three years, and ideally even longer if the baby will take it. This is different advice than that given by almost all pediatricians and other doctors. However, that is the time that most primitive cultures breastfeed their children for optimum health.
The reason for this is the child’s digestive system is extremely delicate. Although a child can start with food after a few days to a few months, the benefits of mother’s milk are many, as explained above. It is also sufficient for nourishing most children for several years. There is no reason to introduce food, particularly meat and grains, until the child is at least one year old.
Some children will ask for more than breast milk at a certain point, and some will outright stop breastfeeding at a certain age. However, this is often because the mother’s milk is not sufficient in nutrients. This can often be remedied by a change in the mother’s diet or health status via a nutritional balancing program. However, it is late to begin such a program once one is breastfeeding. It is certainly possible, but it is preferable to begin a healing program before one gets pregnant or during pregnancy.
Other reasons for continuing to breastfeed for several years are the bonding that occurs between mother and child and other subtle benefits for both mother and child.
I realize this may be inconvenient for modern-day mothers who may need to work. However, methods exist and are discussed below to allow the child to have the benefits of breast milk even if the mother cannot always be present.
PUMPING THE BREASTS
If you must be away from your child, important bonding with the child will not occur as well. However, breast milk can be pumped out and saved, using a breast pump. Refrigerate it if and only if it will be used more than an hour or two after it is pumped. It will have to be heated a little, or the child will usually vomit.
Also, if mother is very upset at feeding time, using a breast pump may also be best. A baby is very sensitive to the vibrations of the mother. If the mother cannot relax, pumping the milk and then handing it the child in a cradle may actually be better than holding a baby in an agitated state and believing the child can assimilate the milk properly.
Children must be relaxed, as with adults, to feed properly. Children, however, will often vomit if they are uncomfortable, whereas adults usually will just develop bloating, gas and other problems by eating when upset, anxious, in a hurry or not chewing or resting while eating.
WHAT IF A BABY WILL NOT BREASTFEED?
At times, for various reasons, a child will not feed at the breast. Let us examine some of the most common reasons and what can be done about it. However, this short article is not intended as a breastfeeding manual. For this, and other information, I refer the reader to groups such as La Leche League International (www.LLLi.org). Let us look at a few reasons for breastfeeding problems.
Problems in the baby. These must be checked by a doctor, preferably soon after birth. An important problem is tongue-tie. Many times it is missed by doctors, but it definitely can cause breastfeeding problems. To read about it, read Tongue-Tie on this site.
More and more children are also born today with digestive defects or developmental delays that prevent normal feeding. The sucking reflex must be developed sufficiently, for example. Other are the inability to grip the breast or to signal when to eat and swallow in coordination. These must be dealt with by a competent physician.
Problems in the mother. A second group of reasons has to do with the mother. More and more mothers are unable to breastfeed today. The cause is usually nutritional depletion. Mothers must literally “eat for two” while breastfeeding, although admittedly, the youngster does not consume anywhere near the amount the mother does in terms of calories or any other measure, simply because of his size.
However, nutritional difficulties leading to breastfeeding problems are rampant. The nipples may not function as needed. They may become very sore and not respond to standard treatments such as lubricating gels. One of the best products for sore or inflamed is called Bag Balm.
Mastitis or breast infections are another common problem. These can be handled often with colloidal silver, applied topically as well as taken by mouth. This is much less toxic for the mother and child than using antibiotics.
The baby may throw up the milk or become colicky, the mother may become ill or depressed, and many other variations. Most of these causes can be dealt with at home by a suitable nutritional balancing program. This is discussed in other articles on this website. For many breastfeeding problems, I strongly recommend calling La Leche League, as they often know a lot more about breastfeeding than most doctors or nurses.
Preparing for breastfeeding. In fact, pregnancy is such a stressful experience, and a thrilling one, that preparation must begin early. In fact, the earlier the better. Grade school would be a good time to separate out the girls and explain that childbearing is both a great honor as well as a burden and responsibility for women.
Do it well and you will feel wonderful. Create defective children and you will feel so guilty that it destroys some mothers, as many know. Wise indigenous cultures that value child-raising much more than we do start preparing girls for child birth very young. Western cultures seem far more interested in their daughter’s good looks, whom she marries and other things that are important, but do not produce the best children.
If the culture cared about children a little more, young women would be prepared, starting in grade school, for the most important task of their lives – that of bearing the children for the future of the race. Instead, they are treated to junk food in the cafeterias and at home, late nights, insane pleasures and distractions such as movies, computer games and others, and a moral code that degrades women to a degree that is just sad to see.
The new moral code is called “women’s liberation” but it is nothing of the sort. It often involves literally deadly birth control pills and patches, and exposes the girls to sexually-transmitted diseases that affect many for the rest of their lives. This is not liberation, but a new form of tyranny and bondage.
Wet Nurses. If a child will not breastfeed and the cause is the mother, an ancient method to handle this situation is the use of a wet nurse. Any woman will do who has milk. Some women have too much milk and would welcome the opportunity to get rid of it. This will come about more as women learn more about their unique role as wet nurses and the great service it provides to themselves and society.
Now let us discuss what else can be done if breastfeeding is not to occur.
Milk banks. If a mother cannot breastfeed, and a wet nurse is not available, there exist in America and elsewhere milk banks. These are groups of women who are happy to express some of their breast milk and send it to families who need it. Milk banks, and how to get in touch with them, are described on the La Leche League International website, LLLi.org.
COW’S MILK AND OTHER MILKS
Cows and other animals have been used for feeding babies for thousands of years. Today, this is still the case. Animal milks are good, but none come close to breast milk. Each of the others has its problems. A common problem to many, however, is hybridization.
For example, cows today are bred to provide five or six times as much milk as those of 100 years ago. While this increases production drastically, the quality is lower. The cow simply cannot eat enough grass, hay or other food, unfortunately, to produce as good a milk in such quantity. As a result, except for organic milk, which is a little better, all animal milks are now suspect. Pasteurizing and homogenizing makes them much worse.
Raw Milks. Until 50 years ago or so, most well-informed doctors recommended only certified raw milk for children. This is milk from cows that have been rigorously inspected for disease by government authorities and must meet very high standards of cleanliness.
This is a very safe product. This excellent food is outlawed in most states for political reasons. The dairy lobby wants their contaminated milk to be sold as equal to certified raw milk, which it is not. Their method of ‘competing’ with the raw milk producers was simply to outlaw their product, claiming it causes illness when this is not so. The standard milk is pasteurized to control its bacteria count, but this damages the milk quite a lot. Let us discuss this horrible practice
Pasteurization. This is the practice of heating milk, usually by splashing it over very hot rollers, for 10 minutes or more. While it may have had some value 100 years ago to prevent some disease, this harmful sterilization method unfortunately allows milk from sick cows to be sold on the open market. It also permits lax standards of cleanliness on a few huge dairy farms that supply large areas of America.
In addition, cooking the milk renders its calcium less biologically available to the body. It also damages the protein in the milk to a degree, making it much harder to digest.
Homogenization is another insult to milk. Vigorous shaking breaks up the fat particles so they stay in solution instead of rising to the top. However, the small particles are absorbed directly into the blood stream instead of being digested properly. This renders the milk much less healthful as well.
Goat, sheep or other milks. Goat milk is less damaged by pasteurization, for which reason it is preferable, though goats are also hybridized to a large degree, today, which renders the milk less ideal than previously.
Sheep milk is very good, but not very available. Other animals may be used as well, although none is as good as a wet nurse or the mother of the child.
Soy, rice and almond milks. These are not worthy of the name “milk”. Almond milk is a bit better, but not that much. These drinks, and that is what they are, should be reserved as a substitute for water. They do not contain nearly the nutrition needed for a growing child, even if they say “fortified” or “enriched” on the label.
The exception is if one makes them at home, with fresh ingredients, and adds many more nutrients so that a truly soy-based or almond-based baby formula is the result. Once again, consult books on this subject for the details.
Home made meat and milk-based formulas. If milk from a woman or a healthy animal is not available or does not work due to allergies or other reasons, a meat-based formula, properly prepared, is often by far the best substitute. It is far better than commercial formula, most nut or seed or grain milks and often very non-allergenic for the child. Two formula recipes are given in the book, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, New Trends Publishing, Washington, DC, 1999 and 2001. These are far better than commercial formula, but still falls short of breast milk, when available. The milk-based formula is probably best if a child will tolerate it. For simpler preparation of these formulas, and my comments, see the article on this site, entitled Baby Formula You Make At Home.
Commercial Formula. This is nothing but a euphemism for poor quality, deficient milk. I expect it will be banned from use once medical scientists discover the harm it produces. Please do not give it to babies, or anyone else for that matter. Most brands are based on milk sugar that has been altered by heat and chemicals. The manufacturers add synthetic vitamins, and often many chemical additives as well.
This is not a food, but a phony concoction that should be labeled as a drug, not a food. This is how harmful it is for the delicate, balanced chemistry of the young child – and adults as well.
It interferes with proper development, which is every child’s birthright. Thus it is one of the worst products for growing children. It is also used for the elderly in a slightly different form, such as Ensure and other trademarked products. This, too, is harmful. However, at least in the elderly the person has lived his or her life, so the damage is minimal by comparison.
SODA POP AND JUICES FOR BABIES
Never feed babies or children any fruit juices, lemonade, soda pop or sweetened beverages at all for optimum health. This merit a more detailed discussion because companies that produce juices and sodas, often target children and young mother’s due to their “convenience”.
These are not food for children, however, or even most adults. Therapeutic use of carrot and green vegetable juices in limited quantities are one thing. Drinking sweet fruit or even sweet vegetable juices or worse, soda pop, is a horror for all people. The fact that sodas are still sold in schools, along with fruit juices, should make parents remove the children from this environment. However, this level of awareness is a long way off. Reasons to avoid all fruit juices and soda pop, sweet teas and other sweetened beverages are:
1) Very Little calcium. Soda pop and juices supply little if any calcium, even if “enriched”. If calcium is added, it is usually a cheap form of supplemental calcium. Orange juice has some calcium, but even this product is not healthful for anyone, in our opinion, due to its high sugar content and other reasons today. Citrus juices, such as grapefruit, are better, but only if made with ripe fruit, which is rarely available since the fruit is usually picked green. Even fresh grapefruit juice is extremely yin and should be strictly limited, in my view, to a small glass once in a great while.
2) Fruit acids or phosphoric acid. Sodas, in particular, and orange juice, too, are quite acidic foods. This means they contain fruit acids or, in the case of sodas, phosphoric acid is added to the soda pop. These are hard to digest, no matter what the ‘health authorities’ say. Grapefruit is somewhat better because it has so little sugar. However, the fruit acids are not always converted correctly and are often harmful to the body, especially in children.
3) Calcium versus phosphoric acid and fruit acids. Phosphoric acid, used in most soda drinks to provide a “kick”, binds and absorbs calcium in the intestinal tract. When it binds to calcium, it forms low-solubility calcium phosphates. This prevents the bound calcium from being absorbed properly into the child’s body.
It is silly to believe you will get much calcium from a food or beverage that has phosphoric acid added for “fizz” or some other reason.
Fruit acids, which include phosphoric, malic and others, can also do the same thing. This is one reason that people who consume a lot of fruit have decayed teeth. It is not just the surface effects of fruit acids on the dentine of the teeth. It is also the absorption and binding of calcium by fruit acids, rendering them less absorbable
This is not to be confused with the fact that absorption of calcium requires an acid medium in the stomach. This is the truth. However, the proper acid is hydrochloric acid. This enables calcium, if it is unbound, to be mixed with amino acids and thereby chelated. This word means to be bound to a mineral transporter, such as the amino acid glutamate or others. This, in fact, permits greater calcium absorption.
However, binding calcium with other materials, such as phosphorus, creates insoluble compounds that are poorly absorbed. This is why one should not buy a calcium phosphate product in the health store. This will not be as well absorbed as a calcium chelate product in most cases.
Phosphoric acid and fruit acids may also bind other minerals such as magnesium and zinc.
4) Sugars to saturation. The many problems of consuming sugar, especially for children, are discussed in other articles. Simple carbohydrates are a very damaging food for children, unless combined as in natural milks, especially mother’s milk.
They upset calcium metabolism more than any other single factor in many instances. Melvin Page, DDS wrote extensively about this in his book, Degeneration, Regeneration, Nutritional Development, FL, 1949,1980. and in his other books. Many other excellent books about sugar have also been published.
5) Too much liquid. This is another problem with feeding babies sodas, soymilk, juices and other dilute beverages. The nutrient density of these beverages is so low the baby must drink too much liquid to get any nutrition at all. This causes stomach upsets and more problems. It is a subtle problem with formula and all substitutes for mother’s milk, in most cases.
6) Low in essential fatty acids. One of the great benefits of most mother’s milk is the fatty acid content. This is absolutely essential for childhood development of the nervous system.
One contributor to conditions such as attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and many other developmental delays and learning problems stem from inadequate or the improper balance of fatty acids in the body.
It is not easy to obtain the needed ones from modern food. Also, children fed exclusively formula are all deficient in fatty acids and other nutrients, some of which have not been discovered and will not be so for some years. This applies even when vitamins and other nutrients are added to the milk formula.
The body needs a wide range of fatty acids for its development. Fish oils can supply most of these. Today’s food is deficient in many of them, however, some of which are known and many are not known.
7) Unknown Needs. A hidden reason for using breast milk is that we have not discovered all the nutrients needed for life. In particular, more amino acids are needed than are recognized. An example is L-taurine. This very essential nutrient is missing from many commercial formulas and not too abundant in many nut and seed milks.
8) Caffeine And Many Chemicals. These are common in almost all beverages except simple herb teas, which may be given to children in small quantities. Otherwise, however, one is feeding the child a chemical cocktail and that is pretty much all they are.
Sugar substitutes, especially aspartame (Equal or Nutrasweet) are even worse than sugars for many children. The other fake sweeteners are less harmful, but not too much better in most cases. They upset the delicate taste detection mechanism in children, leading to obesity, cravings, addictions and other problems of metabolism, as well as psychological problems in a few cases.
9) Tap water toxins. Some forget that tap water is not a healthful product, with its added chlorides, fluorides, aluminum (used in most every municipal water system), copper in some areas, and much more.
For example, most urban water supplies have some degree of contamination with medical drugs. Your baby gets a dose of antibiotics, sleeping pills and much, much more with each bottle of formula mixed with tap water. No wonder so many are sick.
10) Radiation and even more toxins. Breast milk is also purer in terms of bacteria, parasites, viruses and other harmful microorganisms. Babies are also exposed to radiation poisoning through the municipal water used in many nations. Only a foolish mother would dilute formula with this kind of water, but for many mothers this is one of the only alternatives to breastfeeding, and it is an important “profit center” for the food companies.
If you care about your child, breast feed, use a wet nurse or only add distilled or spring water, if possible, to any formula. Carbon filtered water is also okay, though not as good as it does not remove toxic metals, another common problem with American and foreign tap waters. Boiling water does remove chlorine and kills some germs, but does not remove all chemicals or any of the toxic metals.
If possible, breastfeed your child for at least three years. If problems arise, do not give up easily, even if your doctor tells you to forget breastfeeding. Consult La Leche League International first. Do as they say, as they are far more knowledgeable than 99% of doctors. The smart doctors refer the women directly to this or similar groups.