Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Enteromammary System

I have just finished reading an excellent book about breastfeeding called The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers: The Most Comprehensive Problem-Solving Guide to Breastfeeding from the Foremost Expert in North America. The aforementioned expert is Dr. Jack Newman, a pediatrician from Canada.

There have been lots of gems in this book and I might share more of them later, but this paragraph awed me with the perfect design God engineered when he created breastfeeding and the relationship it fosters between a mother and her baby:

"[The enteromammary system] is one of the most fascinating aspects of the protective effects of breast milk. As a result of the mother being exposed to various bacteria and viruses, her milk will contain antibodies specifically directed at those very germs. For example, if a mother is exposed to E. coli bacteria, within hours of that exposure her milk will contain SIgA specifically made against E. coli bacteria. The baby is continually protected against those particular bacteria in his immediate environment, or at least the immediate environment of his mother, which is usually the same thing. Or if she is exposed to influenza virus, within hours of her being exposed, her milk will contain antibodies specifically directed against influenza virus. This is miraculous. Formula will never be able to replicate this - never."

I love this paragraph. I especially love that Dr. Newman describes the process as "miraculous." The enteromammary system does in fact bear testimony to God's character. Romans 1:20 says that "since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." It is truly the amazing work of God that he has equipped mothers' bodies to protect and care for their babies in this way.

Mothers, don't ever let anyone convince you that you formula is a close substitute for breast milk, let alone that it is superior. It is nothing of the sort. And when you are sick there is nothing better you can do for your baby than to continue breastfeeding, strengthening your baby's system with the antibodies and immunity that only you -- only YOU -- can!

Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute:

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