Natural Family Planning: Breastfeeding Research published in Oct.-Dec. 2018

Crohn’s Disease
Breastfeeding can limit Crohn’s progression in children.  “The Effect of Early-Life Environmental Exposures on Disease Phenotype and Clinical Course of Crohn’s Disease in Children,” The American Journal o9f Gastroenterology,” September 28, 2018.

Role of pediatricians
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about six months and continued breastfeeding after the introduction of complementary solids for at least the first year of life and as long thereafter as desired by mother and child. Pediatricians play a key role in helping parents understand not only what is recommended, but why.  In this article, a list was given of the breastfeeding benefits published for the years 2005, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.  In 2018, 128 studies and 10 sytematic reviews produced evidence “that breastfeeding is associated with  reduced maternal risk of breast and ovarian cancer, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.  “Evidence can help pediatricians explain why moms should breastfeed,” American Academy of Pediatrics, October 10, 2018.

Reduced stress
Breastfeeding can cause genetic changes in babies resulting in reduced stress compared to those who were not breastfed. “Epigenetic Programming by Maternal Behavior in the Human Infant,” Journal of Pediatrics, October 2018.

Smaller waist circumference
Breastfeeding for more than six months is associated with smaller maternal waist circumference. “Breastfeeding Greater Than 6 Months is Associated with Smaller Maternal Waist Circumference Up to One Decade After Delivery,” Journal of Women’s Health, November 2018.

Lives saved
Improving breastfeeding rates around the world could save the lives of more than 820,000 children under age 5 and prevent 20,000 maternal deaths from breast cancer every year. Despite this, breastfeeding rates worldwide remain low, particularly in high-income countries – more than 1 in 5 babies in high-income countries are never breastfed, compared to 1 in 25 in low- and middle-income countries. UNICEF, United Nations Children Fund, 2018.  “Breastfeeding: A Mother’s Gift, for Every Child,” November 29, 2018.

To reduce stunting
Nigerian babies get the needed nutrients and grow very well from breast milk.  Breastfeeding can be life-saving.  Nigeria has the second highest stunting burden in the world, with over 11 million stunted children. Preliminary data from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey showed stunting has increased to 44 per cent in 2016. Severe stunting increased to 22 per cent.  Early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding of babies with no additional food, water or other fluids for six months is important to stem increasing cases of stunting in children.  Alive and Thrive workshop, November 30, 2018.

Benefits for second year of life
The World Health Organization (WHO) highlights the importance of safeguarding breastfeeding and ending inappropriate marketing and distribution of breastmilk substitutes for children up to three years of age.  Why?  Because there are so many advantages for breastfeeding the child during the second year of life.  Children who are not breastfed at 12-23 months of age are about twice as likely to die as those who are breastfed in the second year of life. Breastfeeding for more than 12 months reduces breast cancer by 26%. Breastfeeding longer than 12 months reduces ovarian cancer by 37%.  In a large study among low-income children in the United States, those breastfed for at least 12 months were 28% less likely to be overweight at four years of age than those never breastfed; Each additional month of breastfeeding reduced the risk of childhood obesity by 4%. Each additional year of lifetime duration of breastfeeding is associated with a 9% protection against type 2 diabetes.  The WHO recommendation:  Mothers should breastfeed for two years or beyond because breastfeeding “saves lives and promotes the health of both the mother and baby.” WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, December 6, 2018.






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