A Review of Breastfeeding Research published August 2016

Leukemia and lymphoma comprise 40% of all cancers in children. Ever breastfeeding category was associated with a 64% decreased risk for childhood leukemia/lymphoma.  “Ever” breastfeeding means breastfeeding of any kind, whether it be partial or exclusive.  (Nutrition and Cancer, August-September 2016)

Breastfeeding can protect newborns, especially the ones born prematurely, from infections.  Researchers found that a manufactured form of lactoferrin, a naturally occurring protein in breast milk, can help protect premature infants from a type of staph infection. Lactoferrin virtually eliminated the germ that causes a staph infection known as staphylococcus epidermidis. (Journal of Pediatrics, August 2016)

This study found that lactation is associated with lower postpartum blood pressure among overweight women who develop gestational hypertension but not among women who develop preeclampsia. (American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, August 2016)

Breastfed babies are less likely to develop meningitis. A type of sugar found naturally in some women’s breast milk may protect newborn babies from infection with a potentially life threatening bacterium called Group B streptococcus. These bacteria are a common cause of meningitis in newborns and the leading cause of infection in the first three months of life globally.  The presence of sugars found in human breast milk allows the “friendly” bacteria to flourish and out-compete any harmful bacteria that may be in the child’s gut. (Clinical & Translational Immunology, August 26, 2016)

Among extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants, not being fed predominantly human milk is associated with an increased risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Efforts to support milk production by mothers of ELBW infants may prevent infant deaths and reduce costs.  (Journal of Pediatrics, August 2016)

Among women diagnosed and treated for primary breast cancer, those who gave birth and breastfed for longer than 6 months had better breast cancer survival compared to women who didn’t give birth or breastfed for shorter periods of time. (Breastfeeding Medicine, August 2016)

Sheila  Kippley



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