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Benefits of Breastfeeding


Some mothers decide to breastfeed their babies when they are born while others would rather not embark on this journey. The topic of breastfeeding tends to be a pretty sensitive one as there is a big divide amongst women who breastfeed and those who do not. While there are plenty of benefits to both mom and baby when it comes to breastfeeding, it is not for everyone and that’s ok too. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a mother breastfeeds her baby for the first year of life and there are many benefits of doing so.

Nutrition Basics
Breast milk is made up of all the right amounts of vitamins, fat and protein that a baby needs to thrive. This milk comes in a much more safe and natural form whereas store bought formula can be based off of not so great ingredients such as corn syrup solids and sugar. Not to mention that there is a perfect form of antibodies that help a baby develop a really strong immune system. This can be beneficial in helping fight off bacterial and viral based illnesses.

Breastfeeding benefits are not just nutritionally based. There have been studies that show children who were breastfed for at least the first six months of like had higher IQ scores than those that were fed solely from formula. This isn’t just due to nutrition but also thanks to the physical contact a baby receives while they are nursing. Eye contact, skin to skin contact and being held can all help a child’s emotional and intellectual development. Babies that are breastfed are at a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome as well.

Immune Support
The benefits of breastfeeding occur during the period of time that a baby nurses but these benefits can often last a lifetime. Breastfeeding has been proven to reduce a lifetime risk of allergies and asthma. There is a decrease in ear infections, illness and stomach upset when breastfeeding takes place. More research will be done in the future to determine other benefits, but it is suspected that breastfeeding can reduce a number of cancers, diabetes and also obesity later on in life.

Benefits For Mom
In addition to breastfeeding being beneficial for the baby that is receiving the mother’s milk, nursing can also benefit the mother as well. With all of those extra calories being given to the baby, those post partum pounds can be shed quite fast. Oxytocin is a hormone that is released during the nursing process and the uterus reacts by shrinking faster than normal. As for long term benefits, breastfeeding can decrease the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer throughout the rest of the mother’s life, not just the months where breastfeeding occurs.

The benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the benefits of formula feeding is nursing is something you can accomplish. It’s not an easy journey to embark on but it is worth the work that you put into it. Utilizing the services of a trusted and reputable lactation consultant can help you address any issues that might be going on whether it be an issue with latching, staying latched or milk production. It is important to remember that only you can decide what is best for your baby. You may want to enlist the help of your medical professional as well when determining what is best for you and baby. Certain prescription medications can be harmful to a baby if passed through the breast milk, so always check with your doctor regarding this fact as well.


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Importance of National Breastfeeding Month


Spectrum Health Services, Inc

August is National Breastfeeding Month and people are joining together all over the world to promote this natural and beneficial way of feeding one’s child. Not every mother chooses to breastfeed and not every woman is able to due to medical issues but mother’s milk is beneficial to both mom and baby and is recommended for the first year of like by the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Promoting Health Benefits

Not all women receive optimal health care during their  and because of this, they may not be aware of the benefits associated with breastfeeding. With breast milk being comprised of all the perfect amounts of fat, protein and vitamins that a baby needs, mother’s milk is the way to go for the majority of infants. These days, many store bought formulas contain some really nasty ingredients like chemicals, corn syrup solids, refined sugar and more. Breast milk contains ingredients that the mother is consuming but if mom is taking care of herself and eating properly, then breast milk is beneficial.

Immune System Development and Care

Breast milk contains antibodies for a host of different illnesses and once consumed, the baby will form a resistance to these illnesses. Both bacterial and viral illnesses can be completely prevented thanks to breastfeeding and even if they are contracted by the infant, their duration can be much shorter. Some preliminary research is showing that breast milk can prevent certain cancers, diabetes and developmental delays as children grow. Ear infections, the flu and RSV can all be prevented or shortened by consumption of breast milk. Allergies and asthma are on the rise in children under the age of five but breastfeeding can also help prevent these things as well. These facts are easy to access when looking into the benefits of breastfeeding but for those who are not aware of it, national breastfeeding month can be a good time to get these facts out there and reach the masses.

Proper Child Development

Not every child will walk and talk at the exact same point in their lives but there is a general age where children are expected to meet certain milestones. Breastfeeding has been shown to help children reach these milestones on time or earlier than normal. When breastfeeding takes place for the first six months of a child’s life, they tend to have a higher IQ score than those children that were fed formula on a consistent basis. Keep in mind, this is largely in part to all of the great things that are in breast milk, but one of the benefits of breastfeeding that is promoted during national breastfeeding month is the bonding that occurs between the mother and the baby. Skin to skin contact is beneficial for development as is eye contact and being held and soothed.

The mother of the baby, whether baby is born yet or not, is the person who will make the final decision regarding whether they will breastfeed or not. National breastfeeding month can bring mother’s together to help educate and inspire women to nurse their babies. All other conflicts aside, including whether or not to breastfeed in public, breast is best in the majority of situations and national breastfeeding month can help get the facts out into the public so women can make an educated decision on what is best for their baby. Utilizing the services of a lactation specialist can help make this process simpler and more enjoyable for mom and baby. It is recommended that nursing continue for the first year of life.


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Understanding Immunotherapy


Image is from Cancer Research Catalyst – American Association for Cancer Research

Immunotherapy also known as biologic therapy is a type of treatment that induces or enhances the body’s immune system instead of using medicines. This process is usually done to treat cancer by stimulating the immune system to become more active in attacking cancer cells or by sustaining the body with man-made immune system proteins.

How Does the Immune System Work?

The immune system is the sum of all components that work together to maintain the normal functions of body organs. These components include but not limited to white blood cells, nutrients, and organ functions.

When the surface of skin is wounded, white blood cells work to heal the wound by eliminating foreign substances. When the wound is larger, it requires a lot of white blood cells to cover the wounded area. This will result in the appearance of lymph nodes near the area. This is where white blood cells build up.

In the process of eliminating foreign substances such as bacteria, germs, and cancer cells, body nutrients such as vitamin C may work to repair the damaged tissues and collagen.

Meanwhile, body organs work together to prevent disease-causing agents to stay inside the body. Kidney works to filter toxins, which are excreted through the urine. Digestive system separate important substances needed by the body from waste. The heart continues to pump blood to carry white blood cells and red blood cells needed to heal wounds.

These are some examples of how the immune system work. The immune system is not a single substance nor a single organ. It is an integration of several body systems that work together to protect the body from certain diseases.

The Immune System as Treatment for Cancer

There still no single medicine that can cure cancer. So far, an effective way to suppress the spread of cancer cells is through the immune system. The immune system serves as the police inside the body. It detects unwanted substances that may infect any area of the body.

However, cancer cells are not detected by the immune system as they appear to be like normal cells by of sending signals to the PD-1 CTLA-4 receptors. These signals confuse the immune system. This is why even a healthy body with strong immune system cannot prevent cancer.

Nonetheless, there is a way to make cancer cells detected by the immune system. The use of immunotherapy drugs such as inhibitors can disrupt the signals that are sent by cancer cells. This will let the cancer cells exposed to the immune system. Cytokines and cancer vaccines are examples of these inhibitors.

Monoclonal Antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies are man-made immune system proteins. These proteins attach to cancer cells thereby flagging the cancer cells to be recognized by the immune system. On the other hand, monoclonal antibodies work to block the abnormal proteins in cancer cells, so they can also be used to prevent cancer cells from spreading.

These are examples of man-made antibodies:

  • Pembrolizumab (Keytruda)
  • Nivolumab (Opdivo)
  • Ipilimumab (Yervoy)

Non-Specific Immunotherapies

Non-specific immunotherapies are used to boost the immune system to directly stop and kill cancer cells. Examples of these are interferons and interleukin’s.


The use of the immune system is still the most recommended method in the treatment of cancer. It only needs the help of inhibitors to let it work properly on the target. The problem with the immune system is that it is not intelligent enough to keep cancer cells from being hidden. This is why there is still a need for human intervention with the help of man-made antibodies.

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