Breastfeeding vs. Pollution

We love to share new discoveries about breastfeeding and today we’re reporting on some amazing news about breastfeeding and pollution.  A study done out of the University of Basque Country shows that breastfeeding reverses the harmful effects of pollution on babies.  We know breastfeeding offers phenomenal health benefits to both babies and mothers, and now we can add this terrific advantage to the list.

This research specifically focused on pollution particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide that comes from motor emissions and industrial factories.  These two types of harmful pollution are present in high traffic areas and the environment surrounding factories, especially steel factories as was the case in this study.

The study was completed over the course of 9 years.  Beginning in 2006, over 600 pregnant women and their babies have been monitored as part of the research.  The subjects live in an industrial and high-traffic rural area with significant pollution.  Researchers observed motor and mental development in the children up to 15 months old.

TheBreastfeeding vs. Pollution results were astounding!  Newborns and infants who were breastfed for at least four months showed little to no signs of pollutants in their bodies.  This marks the most significant study completed on the correlation between breastfeeding and pollution.

Like many pollutants, the dangerous pollutants in this research have harmful affects on humans, especially babies.  Pollution particle matter and nitrogen dioxide are present in many large, rural cities and industrial areas.  The study indicates that exposure beginning prenatally through toddlerhood can delay and prevent motor and mental development.  In these early stages of life, especially as a fetus, the central nervous system lacks internal detoxification mechanisms.  Therefore, toxins build up in the body and cause physical and mental repercussions.

Pollution is often a silent danger to young children because it is extremely small, invisible and highly mobile.  Particulates can enter the body through the skin and inhalation.  For a baby’s sensitive skin and lungs, the danger of pollution is magnified.

But, according to this latest research, breast milk can reverse the harmful effects of pollution on a baby.  Breast milk contains invaluable antibodies that protect babies in ways their immature bodies could not otherwise do on their own.  These antibodies not only act as a safeguard against immediate threats, but also help strengthen a child’s own immune system to help defend themselves against microbes for their entire lives.

Pollution is often unavoidable but now mothers know one way to combat the harmful effects of pollution:  breastfeeding!  It’s Mother Nature’s time-honored source of nutrition, healing and love. And now it can protect your baby from the dangers of pollution too.

This research was published on May 22, 2015 in Science Daily.