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Breast Feeding a Partial Substitute for Vaccination?

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posted on Aug, 11 2006 @ 05:15 PM
So I had a thought, that maybe the drop in breast feeding that's taken place (reversing itself to some extent now, I think) has some connection to the problem of hyper-allergic, sickly kids.

My reasoning was that breast milk is a product of the lymph system, which I understand to be a sort of dump for destroyed and neutered alien substances that make their way into the body. There are also antibodies in the lymph system, right? If they make their way into the breast milk, and from there into the child's body, does that give the young, inexperienced immune system a sort of training course in how to deal with the nasty things floating around?

Is it possible that a child who is not breast fed, and not exposed to his mother's antibodies, and the dead/dying germs, is more likely to react badly to common substances?

So I'm thinking maybe breast feeding acts a sort of mild vaccination against common germs, as well as a primer in antibodies.

I don't know if there's been any research done on the subject (I've seen one study on the role of barnyard animals in preventing kids from developing asthma, but that's about it, never seen one on breast feeding or on air conditioning, or on the effects of commercial baby food), but I was hoping some folks here could correct me if I've made any grave errors in the basics.

I was vaccinated, and I turned out okay, but I was also breast fed, and I grew up alongside farm animals, and I ate a varied diet all through infancy (no commercial baby food, just mashed up home cooking) - I've been healthy as a horse all my life. I get the sniffles twice a year like clockwork, during the fall/winter and winter/spring transition, but other than that I'm never sick. I also have no allergies at all, that I'm aware of at least. I also didn't grow up with air conditioning.

Does that last factor play into it at all, what do you think?

I realize the limited nature of my experience, which is why I started this thread, to get some other opinions/experiences to add to the mix.

I wonder if you could save your kid (and yourself) a lot of grief, by living without air conditioning, processed food, formula - all of these steps would seem, to me, to help expose the child to a variety of potential allergens. Wouldn't this help the immune system mature and learn how to deal with real problems effectively, while precluding the unnecessary freak-out when it comes to common foods and dust, things of that nature that aren't harmful at all?

posted on Aug, 11 2006 @ 05:22 PM
I agree with you. Babies get more than just antibodies from mother's breast milk. There are also nutrients and stuff in breastmilk that nature has deemed necessary for babies to have, hence, why nature gave women breasts to feed babies with.

I know there has been alot of research about babies who are breastfed having fewer weight problems and allergies than babies who are fed mostly through the bottle.

I also think, aside from the biochemical factors in breastmilk, the psychological factor for mother and baby are essential, and I do believe that the ldecline of breastfeeding that has been a trend for a couple decades might have something to do with all the psychological and behavior problems that kids are having. It might have a slight effect on the overweight epidemic too, as women who breastfeed will shed the excess weight of pregnancy faster, since making milk uses up alot of calories.

posted on Aug, 11 2006 @ 05:46 PM
I can only post my own experience, I've never really looked into any actual facts or statistics surrounding breastfeeding.
I've got three kids all breast fed up until the age of 14 months. None of them have any allergies, exzema or asthma, and no real health issues so far, touch wood, although I have got one who is a fussy eater.
Now aged 17, 15 and 13 all three are at grammer school, and they are doing ok.
Skadi's right about the losing weight while breastfeeding. My pregnancy weight fell off of me and more . It was only after I finished breastfeeding my last child that I started putting on the pounds

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