So I had a very baby-licious weekend. Saturday we went to the house of a friend who just had a baby, to meet her for the first time, and Sunday we met the very new baby boy of another friend! I wish I could share pictures of the adorable bundles of joy, but weeeeeel, I never ever sell my friends out to the tabloids. No matter how much insane ridiculous money people would pay for such shots! 🙂
I was happy to see that both of the babies are being enthusiastically breast-fed by their mothers. The topic of breastfeeding is an interesting one, as we have lots of commercial formula companies on one hand wanting to convince us formulas are just as good. But even if women want to breast feed, it may not be possible for a variety of reasons, including that the baby won’t take to it. So there should never be any judgment at all in the breastfeeding conversation, and every family has to of course do what works is right for them.
But I want to present some information on why I personally believe that breastfeeding is something that definitely should be attempted, for at least any time period. Too often we are automatically pushed one way in a decision-making process because of the lobbying or advertising of large companies, and we don’t stop to ask “Does that really ring true to me?”
Every mammal in nature nurses its young. So to me- the natural aspects of breastfeeding are the most solid proof you can get. But of course there are many studies on the subject. The CDC reports that breast-feeding has been associated with a decreased risk of many health conditions for the baby– including respiratory tract and ear infections, obesity, eczema, sudden infant death syndrome and digestive disorders. It also suggests that breastfeeding yields health benefits for women as well, including a decreased risk of diabetes, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. (Dunham, Reuters, 8/3).
What could possibly be more perfect for a baby to eat than the milk creates just for him or her (assuming the mother is eating a proper diet)? Feeding infants food they can not perfectly digest may be a major cause of allergies which can have a life-long affect. When the babies are young their digestive systems and gastrointestinal tracts are still developing, and the baby most efficiently digests the proteins, minerals and fats present in the natural breast milk.
Cow’s milk formulas prove to be especially problematic, as it contains many times more protein than natural breast milk. 85% of the protein in dairy is casein, with the other 15% percent being whey protein. The casein protein forms curds in the stomach, as it is so difficult to digest. Furthermore, the amino acid composition of human breast milk is different from cow’s milk. Human milk provides more cystine, which is a sulfur-containing amino acid. Sulfur and nitrogen retention are critical for protein assimilation. This may be a reason why the protein in human breast milk is completely usable for the baby, while only about half of the protein in cow’s milk formula can be used. From that remaining 50%, some is digested, though not all utilized, and excreted out, which may contribute to the clogging of the baby’s digestive system as well as unnecessary stress on the kidneys.
Cow’s milk lactose, or milk sugar, is a large part alpha-lactose, which can not maintain or support the friendly flora in the baby’s intestinal system that it needs to maintain peak immunity and produce B-vitamins. The good little guys- the good bacteria that is, are an absolutely critical part of health- at any and all ages!
There are vitamins such as vitamin C in cow’s milk formula, but they are largely destroyed in the pasteurization process. Breast milk has up to 20 times more vitamin E, and importantly it is present in a natural and non-synthetic form. It should be noted that vitamin E can not be absorbed if supplementary iron is taken at the same time, and many commercial baby formulas contain both.
The mother passes to her baby important antibodies through the breast milk. These protect the baby against infections and help build a healthy immunity base for the baby as he or she continues his or her exciting journey of growth and development!
Conclusion? Breastfeeding is definitely worth it if you and your family can swing it. If it’s not possible, do your best possible and remember that goat’s milk is a closer composition to human milk than cow’s milk, so goat’s milk formulas would be a better choice. And soy milk is definitely not recommended- but that’s a whole other can of worms I think I’ll open another time. 🙂
I’ve still got those adorable little babies on my mind! And I have a pleasant reminder of them by the slight ache in my elbows from holding them for so long. 🙂 What a beautiful miracle!
As I was writing this, I thought of the perfect recipe for you and your baby to enjoy, my favorite cauliflower soup recipe!
I hope you have an amazing, inspiring day! See you soon.
I’m so glad you addressed this issue–it is very dear to my heart! I know that for various reasons not everyone is able to breastfeed, and I am so thankful I was. What a great way to keep your little one healthy, and reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases. It also helps you lose the baby weight more quickly (my sister was 20 pounds overweight when she got pregnant, and after nursing her daughter for about nine months, she had not only lost the pregnancy weight, but also that extra 20 pounds). Pregnancy and breastfeeding were actually what got me really eating healthy in the first place. Somehow knowing that what I ate was responsible for building a healthy little person really changed my priorities.
It’s easy, after the first couple of weeks anyway 🙂 and cheap (free!). And what a great way to share your green smoothie with your little one before she is old enough to have her own!
Totally agree and thank you for posting! Breast milk is also smart milk! For example, if the baby is premature, the breast milk adjusts to produce the right chemicals, antibodies, etc to help the premie develop outside the womb.
Thank for this posting this is very help full
I am breastfeeding my little girl and I love it! I’m going to do it as long as possible! Great info here! Xo
Just found this post….I breastfed my baby for 7 months (currently 8 months old) and now have him on Enfamil Stage 1 formula and would rather switch to a natural milk. Kim, I would love your opinion on the next best option for this age. I’ve believed the dairy lie that its good for you my whole life and just recently removed it from my diet. Rather than going with the goat milk formula you mentioned in the post I was thinking almond milk and add flax seed oil for necessary fat that almond milk doesn’t contain on its own. What do you think?
Hi Raina, It’s great you breastfed for 7 months. Some women are unable to breastfeed for a variety of reasons, while some breastfeed for 1 year or longer, bypassing formula and moving into regular foods. I am not sure if the almond milk comb is adequate, but for sure it is great you are pulling the little one off of cow’s milk formulas. Be sure to avoid soy formulas also. I found a low sugar, goat’s milk formula for a client’s child just 2 weeks ago. You can ask your doctor about the almond milk. At some point I will do a blog on foods for babies past 1 year, which I have had to work with a lot lately. xx
I know this is an older post, but I was hoping you wouldn’t mind sharing the name of the goats milk formula you found. I need to supplement and it is a little too early to start her on solids. Everything I have found has some sort of soy/corn solids etc. Would love your insight.
I am a breastfeeding mom and wanted to start drinking the green smoothie daily but was concerned about it being safe for nursing. I do not want it to upset my six month old or to lower my milk supply. For the new year I am trying to make some healthier choices and would like this to be one of them. I am tired with being a single mom of four under 7. thanks so much for all your information you relay on your blog! Hoping the new year brings me healthier, happier and maybe even skinnier!
I just read your book and it was such an eye-opening and inspiring experience- Thank you! I wholeheartedly agree with this post and have been exclusively breastfeeding my 4-month old (and plan to till she’s 1-1.5 years old). I am eager to start eating cleaner both for myself and my baby. I have been a vegetarian (buying organic when possible) for 15 years, but I know my love of dairy and sweets has held me back.
While detox diets do not seem to be recommended for pregnant/nursing moms, I wondered what your thoughts were for someone who would like eat/live healthier as a lifestyle change. Is there a safe way (for baby) to incorporate proper food pairings, etc and eliminate toxins in the mother, or will losing excess fat through these eating principles (or even exercise) always be dangerous by releasing toxins into breast milk ?
Thanks in advance for your advice!
I ***LOVED*** your book!!! It was very informative and provided a lot of insights. I followed a 100% strict vegan diet for about a year and then my husband and I were expecting our first baby. I continued to follow a vegan diet for about the first 4 months of my pregnancy, but then the intense food cravings began. I started to eat the very occasional cheese, ice cream, eggs, fish and meat here and there when i was unable to control the cravings.
My son is now 9 months old and I’m still breastfeeding along with solid foods. I’m back to following a vegan diet 90% of the time, while still eating the occasional dairy, gluten, and soy. I recently read your book and would like to be a “Radiant Beauty”. However, I would like to know a little bit more about detox diets while breastfeeding. I worry that if I follow this that it may release toxins into the breast milk? Although, the diet is not that far off of my current diet so I’m not sure?
Any insight would be greatly appreciated!