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Breast-feeding: When Mother Nature Really Does Know Best by Sandy Gottstein

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A most-welcome study in Pediatrics touts the benefits of breast-feeding, noting lives saved even in developed nations like the U.S.  Most-welcome, but hardly news.

The benefits of breast-feeding on both long and short-term morbidity and mortality, as well as disease severity, are well-known.   A sampling of the literature, mostly recent, demonstrates this fact. 

Take haemophilus influenzae as a case in point.  When it came out in 1990, I had a child in pre-school.  Because I was still nursing and wary of vaccines, however, I looked into whether or not breast-feeding was protective against the disease.  As it turned out, the Hib literature supported the notion that nursing was protective, so I chose to not get the vaccine for my child. (Note, in addition, that the argument in favor of Hib vaccination is not nearly as compelling as we are being told.)

Some support for the role of human milk protection re: specific so-called vaccine-preventable diseases, e.g., measles, whooping cough, and polio, can also be found in the literature, although there appear to be relatively few such studies. (Note, also, that in the vaccination age, duration and level of immunity derived from the mother has declined [e.g., 1, 2].  As a consequence it is imperative that all studies on maternally-derived passive protection compare mothers who have been vaccinated to those who have not.)

The question isn’t whether or not breast-feeding is beneficial, even crucial, to the health of infants.  The question is why have we encouraged costly, potentially rife with unacknowledged/unstudied side effects*, methods over this nearly universally beneficial, almost universally available, 100% natural approach?  The question is why have we primarily promoted vaccines when they can actually interfere with maternally-derived immunity?  The question is why aren’t the negative effects of vaccination on the duration and strength of maternally-derived immunity given more attention and importance?  And finally, why hasn’t breast-feeding been promoted as the first, rather than merely an additional, even incidental, line of defense? 

Why indeed?

The obvious answer is that breast-feeding is free and cannot be charged for.  A less obvious, even more cynical but possible, answer is that breast-feeding doesn’t cause side effects that create the need for more drug company products. 

Mother Nature, although not always on our side, when worked with can be a powerful ally.  She designed an amazing system for helping vulnerable infants via transplacental and breast milk immune protection, as well as providing for better health long-term.

Those who benefit from the sale of vaccines, either directly or indirectly, will spare no expense trying to convince us of the dire need for their products.  They will not distinguish between serious and benign illness when sounding the alarm.  They will not admit to the superiority of breast-feeding in preventing and militating against many serious diseases.  Nor will they acknowledge or honestly study the evidence of serious side effects from vaccines.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.  Or who put paper bags over their heads, albeit ones that are lined in gold.

*These reported vaccine-associated side effects may represent as little as 1% of what would get reported if there was active, post-marketing surveillance.


Sandy Gottstein

Date: 4/8/2010

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." - Wendell Phillips (1811-1884), paraphrasing John Philpot Curran (1808)