Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Breastfeeding reduces cancer & other myths

It was widely reported that a study this week found that breastfeeding reduces breast cancer risk, especially in women with a family history of the disease.

Don't be fooled: this is a myth.

The truth is that women who do not breastfeed have a higher incidence of breast cancer. They also have a higher incidence of ovarian, endometrial and uterine cancer - in addition to passing on that increased risk to their daughters and grand-daughters. You'll rarely see the headline you ought to see about breastfeeding, though we have few compunctions about telling parents that they will harm their children by not putting them in carseats or failing to keep them active.

So here are a few more 'myths':
- Breastfeeding reduces your baby's risk of obesity, Type I and II diabetes and childhood cancers.
- Breastfeeding reduces Mom's risk of Type II diabetes, high blood pressure and cardio-vascular disease.
- Breastfeeding promotes optimal palate development, decreasing sleep apnea and other disorders.

Here's the truth:

- Formula-fed babies are at greater risk for obesity, Type I and II diabetes and childhood cancers. These are serious conditions that can result in disability and premature death.
- Not breastfeeding increases your risk of Type II diabetes and cardio-vascular disease. In addition to the attention required in the management of the disease, the risk of complications means you're less likely to be rocking your grandbabies and chasing them through the park.
- Bottlefeeding causes the palate to be malformed, increasing the risk of debilitating and possibly life-threatening conditions like sleep apnea. These conditions are life-long and are incurable, though treatable.

Maybe it seems like semantics to you... but it's important. Mothers who go to extraordinary lengths to breastfeed their babies often have to also contend with family and health care providers who don't "see the point". While we talk a lot about how breastfeeding is a foundation of good health, there are major systemic barriers to success for the nursing pair - birth practices, sleep practices, maternity leave... these are big, broad issues that get white-washed in the "breast is best" message. Diane Wiessinger has done some great work in talking about breastfed being 'normal fed' and is a worthy read for anyone interested in how language affects our view of breastfeeding and how to address it.

Think about it next time you see a health headline.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New Baby Oatmeal Cookies

To close off U.S. World Breastfeeding Week, I thought I'd post this recipe - especially since I just made a batch for a friend's newest addition. Well, for mom, not the baby - just breastmilk for her!

These ones have oatmeal for more milk, whole-wheat flour to keep things moving, walnuts for healthy fat and finally blackstrap molasses and raisins for renewing iron lost at birth. For fun, you can throw in some fenugreek or flax seeds. I don't think any of the quantities here are therapeutic, but wholesome cookies are a great, eat-with-one-hand snack for a new mom. Much better than flowers - believe me.

2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups oatmeal (large flake is best, but any kind other than instant is ok)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup tablespoons blackstrap molasses
3/4 cup butter
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
2 tbsp. fenugreek seeds and/or flax seeds (whole)

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together flour, oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Cream brown sugar, molasses and butter until well blended - add 1 eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well. Add dry ingredients and combine. Add walnuts, raisins and seeds if using. Drop by heaping teaspoonsful on ungreased baking sheet - bake 12-14 minutes until golden. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Thank you Canadian Family!

Tom was very enamoured with his Staedtler prize pack - even though he fell asleep on the way home from Ontario Place, I couldn't wrench those coloured pens from his grasp. Isabelle is also enjoying her 'professiondal' pencils and has been creating lots of artwork!
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Breastfeeding Goddess

How beautiful is this? Check out the site http://www.breastfeeding-art.com/ for the whole beautiful series.

NB: All images are subject to copyright and the property of Akarot Illustrations - see site for more on uses.