Well­ness Arti­cles

Breast Feed­ing Shows Addi­tional Ben­e­fits for Mother and Baby

An arti­cle from the May 14, 2001 issue of WebMD showed unex­pected addi­tional ben­e­fits of breast-​feeding to both mother and child. The unique ben­e­fits had noth­ing to do with the known nutri­tional ben­e­fits already reported for breast­feed­ing. The basis for these claims were two sep­a­rate stud­ies done on breast­feed­ing. One study showed that breast­fed babies were more tol­er­ant of pain. The sec­ond study showed that the bones of teenage moth­ers who breast­fed had a higher bone min­eral den­sity than teen moms who hadn’t breastfed.

The first of the two stud­ies was con­ducted at Mon­tréal Children’s Hos­pi­tal in Que­bec, where researchers recruited 74 breast­feed­ing moth­ers of 2-​month-​olds. In this study the babies were observed to see if breast­feed­ing had any effect on the child’s abil­ity to han­dle pain. The results of this study showed that no mat­ter what type of obser­va­tion analy­sis was used, there was a reported 50% reduc­tion in pain response in the chil­dren that were breast­fed. The the­ory for explain­ing these results is that the suck­ing, the trans­mis­sion of the milk, and being in con­tact with the mother, help to acti­vate sys­tems in the baby’s body respon­si­ble for reduc­ing pain.

The sec­ond study demon­strates a way teen moth­ers may ben­e­fit from breast­feed­ing. Prior to this study it was com­monly believed that women dur­ing breast­feed­ing lose bone min­eral den­sity and teen moms tend to lose more. Adult moth­ers typ­i­cally regain the bone loss after wean­ing their babies from breast­feed­ing. How­ever, there was a con­cern about whether the bones of teenage moth­ers — who are still grow­ing and devel­op­ing — could recover from the nutri­tional rig­ors of breast­feed­ing. The results were sur­pris­ing to researchers. What the researchers found was that the bones of teenage moth­ers who breast­fed actu­ally had higher bone min­eral den­sity than teen moms who hadn’t breast­fed even after they took into account fac­tors such as weight, race, diet, and exercise.

Ran­dom Article

On April 6, 2006, WebMD reported on a study that is to be pub­lished in the May 2006 issue of Can­cer Causes and Controls

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