How Breast Milk Shapes the Gut
Delight Gluten Free|October 2020
“The Key to Better Long-Term Health”
Kristine Gedroic

There is simply no better food for an infant than a mother’s breast milk. The body is truly amazing; it creates and produces breast milk to support a growing and developing baby, why breast milk has often been called nature’s perfect first food. When you think about it, breast milk is an evolutionary guarantee that our offspring will survive—and thrive—long term, which is why the health benefits of breastfeeding are extensive.

Breastfeeding exclusively for at least a year, which is the critical time frame when the cells of the body and brain are becoming established, has been shown to have significant benefits on a child’s physical and mental health, advantages that carry well into adulthood. This is why one of the first questions that I ask a new patient is whether he or she was breastfed as an infant.

Numerous studies show that children who are breastfed exclusively are less prone—throughout their lives—to obesity, allergies, eczema, diabetes, asthma, respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and digestive problems, as well as being at less risk of developing autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Breastfeeding for at least a year has also been linked to better mental health, including less depression and stress-related and behavioral issues—through age 14, though I would argue that this benefit extends into adulthood.

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