Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The curitive power of breastmilk

I read in the book Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic this interesting quote about breastfeeding.
"[Breastfeeding] appears to have a protective effect and is believed to play a part in the time of onset of Celiac disease. Fewer breastfed children develop Celiac disease and when they do it's at a later age... The mechanism of the protective effect of breast-feeding is unclear. However, breast milk is known to have a variety of antibodies and immunoglobins that confer immunity on children until they can make enough of their own. Breast milk appears to provide some immunity against Celiac disease or its severe form."
I have experienced this very phenomenon with my own son. I breastfed Wolfie until he was 4 1/2 (sorry, honey, for outing you publicly) When he was 8 his Celiac symptoms became deadly serious, causing him to double over in excruciating pain, crying. Over the previous years it had grown gradually and gradually worse. I have no doubt in my mind that he was protected for the first 4 1/2 years by breast milk and once weaned his body began to reject gluten progressively.

I was thinking that on the rare occasion when he has a "wheat attack" (that's our nickname for it), because he accidentally ingests wheat (usually we don't even know where or what)- and he is suffering miserably, and his intestines are being damaged; perhaps I could treat it with some breast milk. Like add it to some ice-cream or something. Currently, we treat it with pepto-bismal and benedryl. Our own personal concoction (OK. not really a concoction. We don't mix them). It's no cure though.

In my crunchy circles, the healing powers of breast milk is not news. They use it to treat conjunctivitis and they express it for friends with cancer. Currently doctors prescribe breast milk for premature/sick babies whose mothers can't breastfeed. But I was thinking that doctors should start prescribing it for adults who could benefit from it too. Namely, those with conjunctivitis, Celiac disease, and cancer. Sure, the demand would go up and burden the already strained milk bank, but that could easily be remedied by paying women for their breast milk. I believe right now this is not allowed because of moral reasons, but, I'm sorry, I see no moral reasons not to pay for it. I guess it's the same argument used against paying for blood or organs. I can (sort of) see the reasons behind that: the poor would donate disproportionally. But in the case of breastmilk (and blood) that is nothing that a good diet and vitamins can't compensate for. (With breast milk having the added benefits of maternal cancer prevention). Plus, it addresses my pet peeve that in our society women are prohibited from working with their babies (with rare exceptions); whereas, throughout history, women have been able to contribute to their family's income and society while childbearing. (Thus forcing women today to greatly limit childbearing, and encourage exclusion from society at a time when they need the most support/interaction).

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