Breast-Feeding – For How Long? – Part 1
Majid Ali, M.D.
In all matters of health and healing, I take my cues from the evolutionary design of the human body. Its wisdom to me is simple: breast-feeding is good for the baby. Next to evolution, I take my lessons from centenarians and near-centenarians. I turn to them for the answer to the question of how long to breast-feed. Two of my grandparents (on both sides) were centenarians, as were some others in my extended family and among my patients. I look to them for light. Their general sense has been to breast-feed for about a year or so. Some more months would seem to be good as well if the mother’s circumstances allow that.
Breast-feeding and Allergy
Breast-feeding protects babies from allergies. Allergy to cow’s milk and soy milk is common. I have personally seen a baby who was allergic to mother’s milk. The problem of babies made colicky or fidgety by the toxins coming from their mother’s fermenting bowels and livers with chemical overload are different. Indeed, I care for little breast-fed children with skin rashes, thrush, colics, diarrheas, and irritability by treating their mothers for fermentation in their bowels, blood, livers, and minds.
It is my sense that genetically-modified crops are adding to the allegenicity of our incrementally toxic environments.
Breast-feeding and Immunity
Here again, evolution and centenarians have important cues. The mother’s milk is the best food for the baby. Empirically, such milk sustains the baby’s health and immunity far better than baby formulas. This subject, of course, has been the subject of innumerable studies. Specifically, breast-fed babies are known to have lower rates of common infections—viral colds, ear infections, respiratory ailments and diarrheal illnesses—ezcema, allergies, and asthma. Not unexpectedly, such babies have lower rates of hospital admissions as well.
Breast-feeding and Intellectual Functions
In 2002, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported the results of a Danish study about the effects of breast feeding on mental health and intelligence tests (IQ values). Babies who were breast-fed for seven to nine months had higher IQs than those who were breast-fed for two weeks or less. The study involved 3,253 babies born from 1959 to 1961 and found that the intelligence scores rose with the length of the breast-feeding period, such that the average increase was 6 points (above the general IQ average of 100.