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Is it Safe to Breastfeed my Baby? Breastmilk and Environmental Toxins

More and more new mothers are facing a daunting obstacle in their efforts to breastfeed.

I reported recently about new research that found all the breastmilk it sampled across the US to be contaminated with PFA’s. If you’re uncertain as to what PFA’s are, you can read that article here. Being an inconsiderate male, my concern was with the long-term impact on our health as a population and I failed completely to address the short-term impact, the one that really matters, which is this. How should nursing mothers respond to this new data?

A friend of mine also read the article, he is an OBGYN and his response bothered me. “Yes, we know about this, I just have no idea if we can fix it.”

So is it fixable? The research I referenced above was only looking for very specific contaminants, namely PFA’s. There are more, quite a lot more, as it turns out and I’m not even going to go down the route of listing these additional environmental toxins and I’ll explain why.

It’s pointless. As hard as it to acknowledge this fact, it’s the truth. While legislation lags about twenty years behind the industries that poison us, even if we were to pass a blanket ban today on everything we know to be harmful, contamination of our environment and us is complete and absolute. 

It would take two or three generations, perhaps longer, to cleanse ourselves and the planet of the poisons we have been spreading and consuming for decades.

That’s assuming a complete and immediate cessation of all manufacturing of plastics etc and harmful chemicals, pesticides, veterinary antibiotics (fed to our food), and a host of other materials. Never happening, so discussing it is moot. We need to accept the situation and deal with it. 

So do I breastfeed?

Yes is the answer to the question asked by moms either breastfeeding now or considering it. Breastfeed, please. I’ll explain why and the answers, which may appear simplistic on the surface are based on common sense and risk management. 

1. The Immunity Issue

This is a biggie and for a good reason. Your newborn is delivered into a world it’s completely unprepared for. The baby’s immune system is not functioning yet and it will take months and years to mature into a properly functioning system. Your milk contains your baby’s first-ever “vaccination”, courtesy of nature.

While it adapts, your bundle of joy is going to need a little help from mom. You can provide this via your breast milk, particularly for the first few days after birth, even if you decide later to switch to formula. Your initial supply of milk is loaded with extra colostrum, a sticky substance that is loaded with your antibodies and sIgA. Nature knows it needs to help the newborn and colostrum is how it achieves that. 

Colostrum is also called beestings or first milk and to understand just how magical it is, refer to this article. Please also read the note in the footer of this article on colostrum supplements.

By sharing your immunity with your baby you’re providing an invisible shield that will help the child ward off diseases and other nasties floating about. You’re providing your child’s throat and nasal passages extra protection and helping to populate the child’s gut biome. Your colostrum gives the baby’s own immune system a helping hand, in effect kick starting it with a helpful supply of data. 

Incidentally, natural birth also boosts a child’s immunity as they are exposed to a whole host of bacteria on their trip out the womb that stimulate their immune systems. Babies born by Caesarian Section (CS) lack this added boost, so the argument for breastfeeding CS babies is possibly even stronger.

2. Breast milk versus formula

Yes I know there are some fantastic products out there and for mothers that cannot breastfeed, out of choice, or because of issues like lactose intolerant infants or supply issues, these are a godsend. 

They aren’t however breast milk. It’s very rare to see an obese baby if it’s breastfed. Formula babies tend to pack on the pounds and regulating the baby’s weight is an important part of forming a healthy adult. Many parents don’t. A lot of this has to do with supply and demand. It’s hard work breastfeeding for a little mouth, whereas with a teat-and-bottle, supply often exceeds demand.

Also, formulas cannot provide antibodies. That’s a job for breast milk and only breast milk. Depending on where you live and the quality controls put in place by regulators, you also have to rely on manufacturers ensuring their products don’t contain anything that impacts your child’s health, both now and in later life. Breastmilk doesn’t suffer from this issue.

3. Futility

Yes, there’s that reason again and this is why it is futile. Whatever toxins your breast milk contains I can assure you that the benefits of your milk To the child far outweigh the risks it carries. 

There are risks. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to you. We know they exist, but if science is honest about it, it’s just not a field anyone is interested in. Short-sighted? Yes, horribly so, and sadly unlikely to change in the near future. 

Many of our adult diseases may and probably do stem from childhood exposure to environmental toxins. There is money to be made in treating the sick adult, while very little profit exists in keeping the child healthy. 

Another reason linked to futility is this. If you don’t poison your child with your breast milk, you’re sure to get him as soon as he starts eating. 

The plastic bottles and teats used for their formula contain contaminants, the utensils and pans you cook with are loaded with plasticizers that leech into everything. The food you buy is contaminated and even produce marked as organic is tainted. There is no escaping this, which is why your breast milk really matters to your child.

You want to give them the best start you can in life. A real fighting chance to equip them for what lies ahead and the best way you can do this is with your breastmilk Breast really is best.

Don’t Stress it

If you want your milk to dry up or for supply to become erratic, try stressing. You’ve got more than enough to worry about over the next few months as the baby grows and breastfeeding honestly shouldn’t be on this list. Yes, you may be imparting toxins and chemicals to your baby via your breastmilk, but the baby will be exposed to these in their very near future in any case. 

As we’ve pointed out, unless you’re going to move in with Heidi in some remote hut in the Alps, drinking from underground streams, and churning yak milk for cheese, you’re going to be contaminated with these pollutants.

By offering your child your breastmilk you’re actually enabling an incredibly adaptable little system with the best possible chance it may have to combat these pollutants later in life. So hand out that free shield mom, you’ve been given the amazing ability for a reason. Don’t ever doubt it.

Colostrum Supplements

Medika Life isn’t here to sell you anything, our only concern is your health and your ability to make informed choices about it. Colostrum supplements are a huge waste of money. There is no real documented science to suggest drinking cow-derived (bovine) colostrum later in life is of any real and lasting benefit. In fact, it may even be harmful. You’re consuming antibody proteins derived from a non-human source.

Questions exist as to your body’s ability to be able to actually absorb these ingredients at all and if you manage that, what the outcomes will be. Colostrum supplements are also very pricey, so not only are you wasting your money, you may be exposing your health to indeterminate risks. Every other mammal on the planet enjoys a limited supply of colostrum at the point in their lives when they need it, and never again.

Once this time has passed, your body arguably may not tolerate or absorb the ingredient or may in fact perceive the foreign proteins as a threat. We are not, after all, cows. Please don’t bother replying to this with links to colostrum research, we’ve seen it and none of it proves anything.

Robert Turner, Founding Editor
Robert Turner, Founding Editor
Robert is a Founder of Medika Life. He is a published author and owner of MedKoin Healthcare Solutions. He lives between the Philippines and the UK. and is an outspoken advocate for human rights. Access to basic healthcare and eradicating racial and gender bias in medicine are key motivators behind the Medika website and reflect Robert's passion for accessible medical care globally.

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