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Breastfeeding Recommendations Have Been Changed

Tuesday, September 02, 2008 by: Jo Hartley
Tags: breastfeeding, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) New guidelines have been released that now recommend that mothers should breastfeed their babies for the first six months without adding any additional solid foods or formula. Experts from the World Health Organization support these new guidelines and this replaces previous guidelines that recommended adding solid foods or formula to a baby's diet at four to six months. This includes formulas and all solids foods (cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, any other infant foods).

The longer a woman breastfeeds her baby, the less chance the child will have of developing food allergies and other allergic reactions such as eczema and asthma. Breast milk is a great source of an immunoglobulin called secretory IGA. This ingredient effectively coats the intestines and keeps food allergens from entering the bloodstream.

The Many Benefits of Breastfeeding:

* fewer digestive problems

* fewer ear infections

* fewer allergies

The reason breastfed babies receive these health benefits is because breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight off many illnesses. Exclusively breastfeeding for six months gives even better protection against gastrointestinal infections that often cause diarrhea.

* Studies have also shown that breastfed babies have IQs of at least 6.8 points higher. This has been connected to breast feeding.

* Breast fed babies also have another edge over formula fed babies in heart disease risk factors as adults. This is according to a study presented at the American Heart Association.

* Adults who were breast fed have lower body mass index (BMI) levels on average, and have higher HDL cholesterol levels than their formula-fed peers. Having higher HDL levels and a lower BMI is considered advantageous in avoiding cardiovascular disease.

* Breast feeding has also been shown to protect the mother against future breast cancer.

The Canadian Pediatric Society now states that in addition to not introducing babies to solid foods before six months, it is beneficial to breastfeed for up to two years and beyond. Health professionals struggle to get women to continue breastfeeding for longer durations. Less than 20% of mothers are now breast feeding for 6 months because the media bombards women with the commercialization of everything. The central message is that if you're a modern mom, you will formula feed and supplement.

Even when breast feeding, if an infant is fed solid foods (especially any that contain protein such as wheat, soy, and dairy) before the intestinal lining is mature, food allergens will seep into the bloodstream. This can cause the baby to build up antibodies to those allergens and later become sensitive to those foods. Mature intestines have a stronger ability to screen out these potential allergens and keep them from entering the bloodstream.

Breastfeeding is still the best choice of nutrition for babies between four and seven months. At this age a baby's intestinal lining goes through a developmental growth spurt known as "closure." This means that the intestinal lining becomes more selective about what to let through. By six to seven months of age a baby's body has the ability to filter out more of these offending allergens.

This illustrates why breast feeding is particularly important and why delaying solids is especially important if there is a family history of food allergies.

Introducing Solids When It Is Time:

* When solid foods are introduced, introduce the least allergic (lowest protein) foods first. This includes fruits, vegetables, and rice. Citrus fruits should be the last fruits introduced.

* Wait until at least eighteen months of age before introducing potentially-allergic foods. This includes foods such as egg whites, tomatoes, shellfish, and peanut butter.

* If you must introduce cow's milk products, wait until at least a year of age.

By one year of age, a child's intestines are mature enough to screen out most of the food allergens to prevent food allergies.

About the author

Jo Hartley
Wife, Mother of 8, and Grandmother of 2
Jo is a 41 year old home educator who has always gravitated toward a natural approach to life. She enjoys learning as much as possible about just about anything!
http://loftymatters.com - Current Events
http://winemaiden.com - Simply Abundant Living

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