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'Breastfed baby won't get the nutrients...' rubbish?

(26 Posts)
dorisbonkers Thu 21-May-09 21:24:51

Sorry, this riled me on another forum. Someone's getting their knickers in a twist about the 'breastfeeding Nazis' and saying she can't imagine if the I have often wondered if the 'unsound diet of the average mother can really offer all the vitamins, nutrients and antibodies through breastmilk that is suggested'.

But that did get me thinking, I have weaned fairly late and doing BLW (have just moved continent so waited til I landed) but should I give vitamin drops? My baby (early, and not the biggest even still) is 7 months.

The above is bollocks though, right?

hanaflower Thu 21-May-09 21:28:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shitemum Thu 21-May-09 21:28:52

Apparantly the quality of breastmilk varies very little from one woman to the next. Even women who are practically starving (for example in developing countries during a famine) still produce breastmilk with all the nutrients a baby needs.

CMOTdibbler Thu 21-May-09 21:44:18

I was reading recently about the women in the russian forced labour camps who had babies in the camps. They were allowed to bf them till they were 2. So these women were on starvation rations, working extreme days in seriously cold weather, and their babies thrived and grew until they weren't bf.

Your body will strip mine you to provide breastmilk of consistent nutrition before it would be reduced

stitchtime Thu 21-May-09 21:48:06

my hv told me that studies were done on starving women, their breastmilk was found to be 'spot on' . the mom's body leaches itself to ensure milk is made properly. it only shuts down milk production at the very very end.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 21-May-09 21:49:26

Message withdrawn

BigBellasBeerBelly Thu 21-May-09 21:50:14

As others have said, the little buggers leach the goodness out of you.

So if you live on wotsits and coke you will have a lovely cheerful baby but you will feel like shite grin

KnackeredOldHag Thu 21-May-09 21:55:26

I know that sometimes vitamin D drops are recommended for BF babies. This is more just as an insurance though, as vitamin D is mainly made by exposure to sunlight. With FF babies, they are supplemented by default (added to formula), whereas BF babies obviously rely on sunlight exposure to get theirs (not great in this country esp. not with the crappy wet weather at the moment where it's not possible to leave the house).

Other than that, such a comment is bollocks. Human babies have been surviving for millenia on breastmilk and thriving. So, a baby fed on breastmilk from a mother on a poor diet is still better off than a baby fed on formula.

dorisbonkers Thu 21-May-09 22:24:04

Thanks all. And thanks Starlight for the tip about oily fish. Funnily enough I've had mackerel three days running parp

Ah, wotsits and coke * dreams *. I could never get wotsits in Singapore. Or Twiglets either. Or coke (you get your hand chopped off and 20 years in Changi) So there are some great things about Britain wink

CherryChoc Thu 21-May-09 22:48:51

KOH I don't find a bit of rain makes it "impossible to leave the house" hmm Also, your body can get all the vitamin D it needs from 10 minutes' exposure on the hands & face to sunlight, however weak (and I believe through windows counts, as a friend of mine was instructed to open their curtains by a HV)

KnackeredOldHag Thu 21-May-09 22:54:52

CherryChoc, the comment about the rain was meant lightheartedly. Did your sense of humour get washed away with the downpours of the last few days?

Also, don't attack me about the vit D supplements. I'm not the one who makes the AAP recommendations to give them to BF babies over 6 months.

CherryChoc Thu 21-May-09 23:17:31

Sorry KOH didn't mean to get at you. Had a bit of an argument with DH earlier and probably posted a bit harshly. I should have stuck to AIBU tonight I think.

Shitemum Thu 21-May-09 23:30:28

KnackeredOldHag - can I have your username when I'm tired of being Shitemum?

wastingmyeducation Fri 22-May-09 06:54:29

The vitamin D is more of an issue if the mother has darker skin or covers up more as this will reduce the amount of exposure to normal daylight she receives in our northern climes.

duchesse Fri 22-May-09 07:08:16

I think for your own health it's sensible to keep taking pregnancy/ post natal vitamins throughout the bf period. I found after early 2 years into bf my third child that my nails had virtually stopped growing, a sure sign for me that I wasn't getting enough calcium. What somebody said lower about vit D is probably true now that so few people go out in the sunshine without factor 50 on, particularly in winter when we all cover up completely and shelter indoors for months on end. You only need about 1/2 hour a day of winter sun on the face or arms (ie not a lot of bare flesh) to build up appropriate amounts of vit D, even this far north. Unless you are darker-skinned, in which case you may need supplements.

tiktok Fri 22-May-09 07:19:50

doris, the 'diet' thing is a commonly-used arguemen when people for whatever reason want to undermine bf.

Like the posts here say, the evidence is all the other way. I've had to look into it for an assignment I did.

There does seem to be a lifestyle issue for some mothers, especially in the North of Europe where sunshine is less common. The human race spent far more time, even in cold climates, out of doors, than we ever do in the 21st century, and it's notable that traditional diets in these cultures (like the Inuit, or people living near the Arctic circle) do contain vitamin D-high foods. So there is a case for supplementing a baby with Vitamin D as he gets older, when he may be getting less breastmilk as he moves to solid foods, which may not have much Vitamin D in them. A baby who gets outside on most days, and/or who still has lots of bf, prob won't need the supps.

None of this prevents people talking a load of rubbish about diet and bf....

Ginni Thu 04-Jun-09 11:04:25

Levels of certain nutrients are indeed fairly constant, regardless of what mum eats. However there are several factors which do vary widely according to mums diet. Why is it such an odd concept that mothers diet would affects her breastmilk?

*The omega-3 fatty acids DHA, EPA & ELA* - the ratio of beneficial to less beneficial fatty acids can vary nearly one hundredfold in breastmilk, depending on the diet of the mother. These fatty acids are thought to enhance the building of baby's nervous system (and promote the health and well-being of mum!). Lots of research has been done regarding other benefits of fish oils in humans eg in intelligence, heart disease, risk of developing pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, the risk of severe post-partum depression and post-partum OCD. There have been success' in treatment of several mental health illness' with fish oils eg bipolar, schizophrenia, ADHD and depression not related to childbirth. There are links between these fatty acids and asthma, eczema and allergies too. There has also been a study into fish oil supplements in pregnancy leading to desirable changes in immune factors in breast milk. As the ratios can vary so greatly in breastmilk much according to diet (and to some extent genetics too), and given the benefits of these fatty acids already found to humans, supplementation in the breastfeeding mother does appear to be indicated and most likely won't do any harm even if the evidence thus far doesn't sway you!

*The B vitamins* especially B6 and B12
Vitamin D

*The carotenoids* and other antioxidant nutrients

*Calcium, zinc, selenium and iodine*

Lauric and Capric acids - these are abundant in coconuts and vary substantially in breast milk according to diet (can be up to lauric acid 21% of total saturated fatty acid and capric acid 6%). These acids have been found to promote brain development in mice (and also increases metabolism and promotes weight loss in mum!). These acids also protect against microbes that can cause infection in a baby with an immature immune system (they are actually also made in a nursing mothers milk ducts providing powerful defence against infection).

CMOTdibbler Thu 04-Jun-09 11:13:53

Do you have references for those Ginni ?

Searching Pubmed, tells me that you can influence some of the fatty acids in breastmilk by eating sardines, but not all are changed by supplementation.

Lauric and capric acid don't seem to appear ar all in conjunction with breastmilk as a search.

The others only vary if the mother is totally depleted of them herself

tiktok Thu 04-Jun-09 11:21:32

It's simple: breastmilk is rarely identical between mothers, between times of day, between feeds. It changes - but this does not mean its quality varies in any significant way.

Diet can affect the flavour of breastmilk; the type of fat can be affected by diet too. Levels of micro-nutrients can be affected, and you can increase the Vit D content (for example) by increasing your own manufacture of it.

None of this matters a jot to the quality of nutrition getting into the baby. In fact, we can be pretty sure the variability and flexibility of breastmilk is a good thing for the baby.

There's plenty of research on this, because studies have been done on breastmilk in many circumstances - observational ones (where the growth and health of babies has been assessed) and analytical ones (where the actual milk has been compared). The results are consistent.

AnarchyAunt Thu 04-Jun-09 11:23:43

Is that out of that bloody book Ginni?

Ginni Thu 04-Jun-09 11:33:44

Francois CA, Connor SL, Wander RC, Connor WE. Acute effects of dietary fatty acids on the fatty acids of human milk. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1998;67:301-308.

Bach, A.C., et. al. 1989. Clinical and experimental effects of medium chain triglyceride based fat emulsions-a review. Clin. Nutr. 8:223

The others do vary even if mother is not depleted in them - refs to follow

Ginni Thu 04-Jun-09 11:35:41

The first two refs relate to lauric/ capric acid btw.

Ginni Thu 04-Jun-09 11:37:08

AnarchAunt - yes, have you actually bothered to read it? Why be so narrowminded?

wastingmyeducation Thu 04-Jun-09 11:53:27

Ginni, with chapter titles like 'Vitamins: Does your breastmilk have enough' I certainly wouldn't read it, because I know the answer already. grin

tiktok Thu 04-Jun-09 12:12:14

Ginni, it's not enough for studies to show that supplementing makes a difference, or even that the supplementing makes a difference to the baby's intake of ingredient X.

It has to be shown that it is nutritionally significant and that not doing it, or 'allowing' mothers to have an 'unhealthy' diet has a significant impact on their babies' health, growth or development status.

Otherwise, what happens? Women get anxious, stressed and focussed on something that actually may not matter

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