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Breathing through Breastfeeding

Filed Under: Baby and Child Health at 1:33 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
BreastfeedingBreastfeeding is touted as the healthiest choice you can make for you and your child.  The nourishment your milk provides aids in your baby’s development, cognitive and physical, and helps to prevent all types of ailments ranging from ear infections to leukemia. For you, the act of breastfeeding accelerates your post-birth weight loss while decelerating the development of various cancers. It saves you money and, despite contradictory rumors, does not cause your breasts to sag any more quickly than Mother Nature had planned.  So, it seems obvious that, if you can, you should choose to breastfeed, but are there instances when you shouldn’t?

Possibly. Preliminary research, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, suggests that asthmatic mothers may want to reconsider the bottle.  In the study, children who were breastfed for more than four months by women with respiratory problems had a significant reduction in air flow and a limited improvement in lung function. On the other hand, those with healthy mothers had better lung volume and no decrease in air flow. This is attributed, in theory, to the growth factors in milk that facilitate respiratory development, which may be hindered by the mother’s asthma. However before you, as an asthmatic mother, swap the breast for the bottle, please note that these findings are just the start. More needs to be done before any permanent conclusions can be drawn.

None the less, if you do decide that breastfeeding is not the best way to provide nourishment, there are some things you want to keep in mind. When selecting a formula, begin by talking with your doctor.  He will let you know if your infant has any special needs that must be met via the bottle. If, for instance, your child is lactose intolerant, you will want to purchase a soy-based formula. Otherwise, most infant formulas are the same. They are regulated by the FDA and, as such, contain all of the nutrients necessary. However, you never want to buy a low-iron product (that will lead to deficiency, the last thing you want for your child) and making your own is not advised (while channeling Martha Stewart is fun and creating from scratch is oh-so-green, when your child is involved there are more important things). Aside from that, rest easy and enjoy the meals you are sharing with your child. They will, regardless of breast or bottle, connect the two of you in unimaginable ways.

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