Native News Network Staff in Native Health. Discussion »
BETHESDA, MARYLAND Babies can't digest part of what's in breast milk, but it's still good. At the University of Illinois, Sharon Donovan examined molecules called HMOs, which are not food for babies but do feed beneficial bacteria in the gut. Donovan says these bacteria can protect against infection and strengthen the immune system.
Formula cannot match
human breast milk
Human milk abounds in HMOs. Formula doesn't have them, so other sugars called prebiotics are added. Donovan compared HMOs with the formula version, and found bacteria did better on HMOs.
“We're just looking at one small aspect, but we know that breastfeeding and breast milk does a lot of other things for the infant.”
The study in the Journal of Nutrition was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Tribal health programs across Indian country promote breastfeeding among American Indians and Alaska Natives with slogans such as, "Native mothers honors the traditions of American Indian and Alaska Native families."
Further, they promote the benefits to babies when breastfed. Breast milk fights disease because the cells, hormones and antibodies in breast milk. The natural protection is unique. Formula cannot match the chemical makeup of human breast milk. In fact, among formula-fed babies, ear infections and diarrhea are more common. Formula-fed babies also have higher risks of:
posted July 9, 2012 6:50 am edt