Thursday, May 7, 2009

Notes from a father...


In my last blog I mentioned my friends Shaun and Jessica and the previous birth of their daughter, Madison. Shaun recently wrote a paper on breastfeeding for college and shared it with me at a recent OB visit. I thought this paper did an excellent job of pointing out the benefits of breastfeeding! Also, how often do we hear a father's point of view on such an important topic? Read and enjoy...



A Booby For My Baby

By: Shaun L Ratcliff


Is breastfeeding more beneficial for our infants and young children than the use of formulas? Breastfeeding has been around since the dawn of time and is once again a vital part of the lives, health, and development of our children and mothers. My wife and I were both breastfed as infants and all of our children either have been or will be breastfed for their first year at a minimum. A mother's bond between their children is crucial to the well being of the child; this bond is greatly affected through their mother's breast. Science has proven in multiple studies that breastfeeding decreases the likelihood of many diseases, infections, viruses and even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in the children and the reduction of Breast and Ovarian Cancer in the mother. Although, it may only be a few points, breastfeeding has also shown to increase their child's IQ and cognitive development in comparison to formulas. Breastfeeding is a wonderful, natural, and healthy way of taking care of your children.

Bonding with our children is something that each and every one of us strives to accomplish at some point early in their lives. There is no other bond like the bond of a breastfeeding child and their mother. Mothers have a special bond that can only be achieved through the suckling of a child on its mother's breast; just read what Mrs. Ratcliff said in an interview in December 2008, “to look into her eyes was instant love when she first latched on to me. I knew right then, that there would never be anything that could tear us away from each other. The longer she fed, the happier and healthier she became as she got older.” According to an article on http://www.hugthe/ monkey.com, Warwick University scientists have made a direct correlation between the secretion of a hormone called Oxytocin and the suckling of a mother's breast. This reaction causes a positive feedback loop where the greater the concentration the faster oxytocin is produced and the stronger the emotion there is. So, when your child is breastfeeding your body is releasing hormones faster and faster that tells you to love them more and more and more. Now how can you beat that? More mothers should breastfeed their children because of the many benefits it provides for their children, their family bonding, and the exposure of society to a motherhood pastime.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS has to be one of the most feared early childhood problems in a family after they bring their child home from the hospital. Did you know that just by breastfeeding you can significantly reduce the chances of SIDS occurring in your home? Within the first few hours after delivery a mother's colostrom is letdown as she begins her first few feedings. Colostrom is probably the greatest thing that you can immediately provide for your baby; it has thousands of antibodies from many of the diseases that the mother has been exposed to. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics website, human milk decreases the incidence and severity of diarrhea, lower respiratory infection, ear infections, bacterial meningitis, and urinary tract infections. Studies show a protective effect of breastfeeding against SIDS as well. Cancer is heart wrenching on a family and mortal to many. Breast cancer can take away the self esteem from just about every woman that develops it; but breastfeeding helps to reduce its occurrence as well. According to http://www.cancerresearch.org/, “Breast feeding still lowered breast cancer risk by 4.3% for every year of feeding. There is also a 7% reduction in
risk of breast cancer for each child born.” I don't know of a better way of taking care of our children and our families than to breastfeed. Formulas just don't do the same things as traditional, old fashion booby milk.

Formula fed babies don't get the same nutrients that breast milk gives. Everything that comes from the breast during letdown is natural and is always the perfect amount at the perfect rate and the perfect temperature. So what does that mean; it doesn.t have any of the extra added hormones or whey protein that may come with formula, you won't have to go out and look for that bottle with the nipple designed by someone other than you based on another woman's breast and child, hoping that once you warm the formula it will now be perfect for the baby. Enfamil makes many different specified types of formula for problems such as colic, gas, spitting up; but still, why pay for all of these when breast milk is free, easy, convenient, and more beneficial. Breastfed babies traditionally have a higher IQ than most children and their cognitive development happens at a faster rate, giving them the opportunity to learn more before they enter Kindergarten. There was a study done called Breastfeeding and Child Cognitive Development by Dr Michael S. Kramer, MD; which studied breastfed infants and their IQ scores at the age of 6 on the Wechsler Abbreviated Scales of Intelligence. The study found that the scores for verbal IQ increased up to 14.3 points, 9.1 points for performance IQ and the full-scale IQ was as high as 12.8 points. My daughter is just about 2 years old now, and she has a huge vocabulary. She is using full sentences with proper mannerisms, states what things are and know most of her colors. I contribute a lot of this to breastfeeding and the study cited above can concur. The study also concluded by stating, “Based on the largest randomized trial ever conducted in the area of human lactation, provide strong evidence that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding improves children's cognitive development.” I highly recommend that all children are breastfed, if at all possible, for the first twelve months or longer.

Without a shadow of a doubt breastfeeding is the way to go. The overall benefits are just phenomenal. Mothers who are bonding with their children could have a global impact on things like the reduction in crime just by breastfeeding. Sounds farfetched right? Think about it; smarter people commit less crime and secure children who have strong bonds with their parents are more productive in life. Convinced? These breastfed children live healthier lives because of the passage of colostrom and antibodies from the mother to baby. Also, there has been a decreased incidence of breast and ovarian cancer in the mothers as well as the babies well on into adulthood. Breastfeeding increases children's IQ and cognitive development in just a few years; formula doesn't have that same impact on children. Sometimes it may be hard on the mother and it may hurt at first, be persistent and breastfeed. Nowhere else in the world can a child receive these benefits in such enormity than by providing a booby for the baby!

5 comments:

Dairy GRITS said...

I recently read of a study that showed that infants who were carred for by their Mother (as opposed to day-care) did better socially and academically by kindergarten. Theoretically, the difference was the emtional security established with the Mother. Could some of the benifits of breast milk, contributed to the milk itself, actually come from the bonding experience of breastfeeding?
Just wondering, Beth

Dairy GRITS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna said...

Yes, I definately think so! I think it's the combination of the emotional security and the physiologic benefits!

Shaun said...

I asked my wife that very question when I wrote this paper; she told me that when she looked into our daughters eyes as they breastfed, there was no other feeling in the world greater than that! You can see the children completely calm themselves as they eat. As for day care, we have had our oldest, Sarah-Beth, at home with us for the past two weeks since we had Madison on the 1st. What a dramatic change that we have seen in her. She is much happier, more playful, more energy, healthier, more loving, less stressed....etc. Ultimately, she is home now with Jessica instead of the day care. We talked and prayed about what to do...we decided on God's design! What do you think Anna, Leigh? and thanks for posting this!

Debbie said...

I am the grandmother of Shaun's children and the mother of his wife. All of my children were breastfed (4 of them) and I can probably count the number of times I've had to take my children to the doctor. All of my children have been extremely healthy and vey well adjusted. Mind you, my children are not neurosurgeons or rocket scientists, but they are intelligent nonetheless. I attribute my children's good health, intelligenc eand stability to breastfeeding. God gave women the ultimate gift when He allowed us to feed our children. The bond we estabish with them early in life follows them throughout adulthood, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to know that my daughter and son-in-law chose breastfeeding over the bottle!