I have been a womb to tomb physician since 1972. As such, I witnessed and helped the transition from bottle feeding to breast feeding babies. Medical personel, lactation nurses, and all manner of support organizations cropped up to assist all new moms in the art and technique of breastfeeding. We told mothers “it’s natural, human milk provides better immune protection, milk allergies are less, childhood obesity will be less”, and a host of other reasons why bottle feeding should not be the way to go. I certainly was deeply involved in this shift to breast feeding, as I delivered thousands of babies. By the end of the 70s, breastfeeding had become the norm.
Most of the information we provided about the need for breastfeeding was, as it turns out, based on assumptions, and very little research. Now an organization called Pollution Action (pollutionaction.org) is sounding the alarm with some very disturbing figures and research regarding breastfeeding. It turns out that all the medical reasons for breastfeeding (beyond the bonding and nurturing aspects) have not turned out quite right. The predicted decrease in childhood obesity has actually been a disastrous increase. The incidence of autism has skyrocketed. Ditto childhood cancers, infectious diseases, and attention deficit disorders, to name a few. Why would any of these be related to breast milk?
So here’s some statistics – life expectancy is longer in low breastfeeding countries than most high breast-feeding cuntries.
Various childhood diseases – cancers, salmonella, diabetes type 1, and whooping cough, among others, are a whopping 23%-5,000% higher in the higher breast-feeding cuntries of Europe, compared to the lower breast feeding countries.
Autism rates are less than half in the low breastfeeding countries or Europe and states of America.
Why should this be? Well, it turns out that the natural physiological response to toxins in the body is to find ways to either dump them, or store them in fat. In the breast feeding mom, toxins are dumped into breast milk at an alarming rate, especially for the firstborn. Each subsequent child gets a lower dose of toxins, because mom has detoxified considerably in the first child’s breastmilk. I won’t go into great detail here, but here’s a few examples. Dioxins, a neurodevelopmental and cancer causing toxin, is 86 times higher in brestfed infants in their first year, than the highest safe levels stated by the EPA. For a much more complete listing of the toxins ingested at very high and dangerous levels from breast milk, and what they are likely causing, do go and explore pollutionaction.org.
We have to accept that even the most fastidious, organic vegetarian among us is receiving a daily dose of toxins, already in the environment. And those toxins are being concentrated in breast milk and fed to our children at an alarming level, with apparent disastrous results. I don’t pretend to have an answer here, but it may be that new parents will one day be counselled to avoid breast feeding for just all of the above reasons. This is and would be a tragedy, but the facts are getting critical that we must not allow this high level of toxins in our precious babies.
Again, if this issue concerns you, do checkout pollutionaction.org for further reading and much more detail, as well as a thorough listing of all the research papers that supports this information.