I knew I wanted to breastfeed before I had Zephy. However prior to knowing all the benefits of breastmilk and breastfeeding, my only idea about breastfeeding is that it is cheaper than buying formula milk. Obviously, after knowing its advantages, I really set my mind into doing it.
What’s even interesting though is that after more than a year of breastfeeding, I still learn a lot about how good it is. Just when I thought I know everything about it, I recently read that during a feeding, when our baby’s saliva mixes with our breastmilk, it releases antibacterial compounds that help regulate and even inhibit the growth of bacteria possibly in the mouth and in the gut. The recently published in vitro experiment showed that hydrogen peroxide, among other antibiotic compounds, is produced from the interaction between your baby’s saliva and breastmilk.
What does this mean for your baby?
When your baby swallows, she swallows antibacterial components that help maintain the integrity of her virgin gut by keeping bad bacteria at bay. A newborn’s gut is said to be permeable and has minute holes that open to their bloodstream. This means that whatever they ingest can pass through these holes and be incorporated in the blood. By keeping bad bacteria levels at a minimum, these antibacterial compounds actually help in indirectly maintaining your child’s optimum health especially at a time when they’re susceptible to life-threatening infections.
Furthermore, these antibacterial compounds have self-cleaning effect on the mouth. By ensuring that the level of bacteria in the oral cavity is low, there is less or even no need for the mouth to be cleaned especially when direct latch breastfeeding is employed. This means lesser incidence of early childhood caries. When the integrity and vitality of baby teeth are maintained until the permanent teeth are ready to erupt, problems regarding space and tooth movement requiring dental intervention may be avoided. Result: good oral health for baby and less financial burden for parents.
With the emerging studies on the effects of breastfeeding nowadays, I won’t be surprised to know a thing or two about it. There are just so many reasons to continue nursing and to influence other people to do it.
Sweeney, L. Al Shehri, S. Cowly, D. Liley, H. Bansal, N. Charles, B. Shaw, P. Duley, J. Knox, L. 2018. The effect of breastmilk and saliva combinations on the in vitro growth of oral pathogenic and commensal microorganisms.
[online journal]. Scientific Reports. 8:15112. Available from:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-33519-3 Last Accessed: November 27, 2018