Worried that your infant isn’t getting enough products high in sugar, artificial flavoring and colors? Then Mead Johnson (part of Nestle, the multi-million-dollar-Swiss conglomerate) has got just the product for you. Chocolate-flavored formula. Don’t worry, if your little one isn’t hooked on chocolate yet, they’ve got vanilla, too.
What’s the best way to set up our children for chronic illnesses, obesity and poor health?
Get them addicted to toxic foods before they can walk or talk. So if you expose a child to junk foods as infants, then their brains will become hardwired so that they are more likely to eat junk food themselves, with a particular fondness for treats high in fat, sugar and salt. While we’d all agree that chocolate-flavored formula is bad for our children, even traditional formula still pales in comparison to the benefits of breast milk.
One of the best reasons to breastfeed is that breast milk aids in the development of baby’s immune system, providing protection against multiple diseases. The beneficial effects of breastfeeding children are well-documented and include a lower risk for ear and respiratory infections, atopic dermatitis, gastroenteritis, necrotizing enterocolitis, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). But is also helps prevent Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in children.
In one research study, children in New South Wales, Australia who had developed Type 1 diabetes were matched with healthy children (ratio 1:2) of the same sex and age for comparison. The results were statistically significant. Those who were exclusively breastfed during their first three months of life had a 34% lower risk of developing diabetes than those who were not breastfed. Children given cow’s milk-based formula in their first three months were 52% more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes than those not given cow’s milk formula.
There is growing evidence that breastfeeding may also reduce a child’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes as an adult. Less obesity, and lower insulin concentrations in later life are thought to be key benefits.
But enough about the child, what about the mother? Are there any benefits to breastfeeding for the mother?
As it turns out, there are many! Breastfeeding isn’t just good for babies’ short and long-term health, it’s good for mom, too. A new study shows that moms who breastfeed for at least two months are less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life compared to those who do not breast-feed. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh studied more than 2,200 women aged 40 to 78. They found that 27 percent of mothers who didn’t breast-feed developed Type 2 diabetes, almost double the rate among women who breast-fed or never gave birth.
And if a reduced risk of diabetes is not enough, for women with a family history of breast cancer, breastfeeding may offer as much as a 59% reduction in their odds of getting breast cancer themselves — a result that stunned the researchers who conducted the study.
But so far, this is all about health. And as we learned from Billy Crystal on Saturday Night Live, “It’s better to look good than to feel good.” And as it turns out, breastfeeding can help you do just that. The same study that found that breastfeeding reduced the risk of moms developing diabetes also found that breastfeeding helps reduce belly fat — and what new mom doesn’t want that? In fact, the two results are likely connected, since the indications are that it is the losing of the belly fat that is responsible for the reduced risk of diabetes. Why it’s enough for men with Dunlop disease (my belly dun lopped over my belt) to want to get pregnant, give birth, and breastfeed themselves.
Bottom line: studies now show that breastfeeding helps prevent Type 1 diabetes in babies, Type 2 diabetes in moms, and even helps new moms trim down and tone up. Add that to all the other benefits associated with breastfeeding, and you’ve got a can’t lose proposition.