Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shout out to Breastfeeding :)

I have to include this post about the benefits of breastfeeding that go well beyond nutrition and how my breast milk has recently protected our baby.

For the past month, we have been fighting off colds, upper respiratory infections, double ear infections (sophie), flu, mystery viruses...the works in our house!  Last week was the worst.  I developed a high fever and after the third day of it, I went to the doctor.  It turns out that I had a sinus infection (from a lingering cold virus), bronchitis, and a pocket of pneumonia deep in my right lung!  I started antibiotics right away, but the fever and the extreme fatigue lasted for another two days.  I was MISERABLE, not able to get out of bed and I can not remember the last time I was that sick.  I am feeling much better today, but I get very weak around dinner time and I still have trouble taking a deep breath.  The cough will also probably linger for a while although I am no longer contagious:).  Anyway, here is the good part...

Elizabeth had only a couple of days during all of this mess last month where she sneezed and had a runny nose which didn't seem to bother her at all.  She has seen the pediatrician twice during this time for growth and development check ups and they have even commented on her good health despite the sickness going around!  One of the doctors we saw said, "this is a testament to breastfeeding and the protection it provides for a baby's health"! 

Here is a great article I found online about this incredible gift that breast milk provides for babies (I know this will be interesting to my fellow breastfeeding mommies, but I hope others will find it fascinating as well)!

Antibodies in Breast Milk

Breast milk is packed with antibodies that fight diseases and viruses as well protect the baby from short and long-term health problems.

©Brenda Lane

Antibodies abundant in breast milk!, T. Rolf
Breast milk has a unique ability to not only nourish the baby but provide antibodies that are crucial protection against disease and illness.

Even though breast milk is known for beingnutritionally-perfect,perhaps the most amazing characteristic about breast milk is its ability to fight off and protect babies from illness. In fact, some have said that the antibodies in breast milk make it more like human blood since they both contain white blood cells.

Here are just a few of the many antibodies contained in human breast milk and what they do to mobilize the baby's immune system:

Antibodies - White blood cells

  1. B lymphocytes- forms antibodies that target specific microbes
  2. Macrophages- destroy microbes in baby's stomach
  3. Neutrophils- may act to ingest bacteria in baby's digestive system
  4. T lymphocytes- kills infected cells and send out messages to mobilize other defenses; also produce compounds that activate baby's immune system

Antibodies - Other Molecules

  1. Antibodies of secretory IgA class- bind to harmful cells in baby's digestive system to prevent them from passing through the walls of the gut into the tissues of the baby's body
  2. Bifidus Factor- increases growth ofLactobacillus bifidus- which is a good bacteria
  3. Fatty Acids- destroys cell membranes around harmful cells to kill them
  4. Lactoferrin- Binds to iron which prevents harmful bacteria from using the iron to grow
  5. Mucins- attaches to bacteria and viruses to prevent them from clinging to mucousal tissues
  6. Oligosaccharides- adheres to bacteria and other harmful cells to prevent them from attaching to mucosal surfaces.

What we have in breast milk antibodies is a spectacular immune system enhancer for our babies! Remember even if you return to work, your baby can still benefit from your pumped breast milk in order to get all of the superiornutritionas well as antibodies.Formulacannot match it.

Read more: "Antibodies in Breast Milk: Breast milk is packed with antibodies that fight diseases and viruses as well protect the baby from short and long-term health problems." -

1 comment:

KatrinLaurel said...

Awesome! So glad that your doctor recognized your efforts and complimented you on your hard work. There is no medicine for what your breastmilk offers. What was it like b'feeding while so sick? I guess she got extra snuggle/ co-sleeping time then? :) Thank you for sharing your story.