need expert opinion!

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anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
need expert opinion!
5
Mon, 08-13-2012 - 9:08am

 Sorry to bother you, but I was hoping you could be the definitive authority on this:

A friend told me she heard the 2 oz/day of breastmilk gives immune protection, so, while she is quitting breastfeeding her 7 month old now, she plans to freeze what she can now and parcel it out to him in 2 oz/day during flu season this fall.

My pediatrician had told me that the immune benefits of breastmilk are in in the baby's first 4 months of life.

Who is right?

And I guess that leads to a bigger question of what's better-- exclusive breastfeeding for a shorter time, or breastmilk+formula for a longer time?  (I have a 5 month old and am working, so he mainly gets pumped milk, and already has to have one or 2 bottles/day of formula just because he's hungrier than what I can pump.  So should I keep feeding him whatever I can pump for the next month (I'm quitting at 6 months), or should I feed him some of it and freeze the rest so he has milk for longer?)

Thanks in advance!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Wed, 08-15-2012 - 2:09pm

I am not entirely certain of the answer, but my thinking would be that it is better that you feed the baby as much of the fresh breastmilk as possible while you have it.

O am basing this on giving as much support to the baby's immune system at the youngest age as it is dose-related. I am also basing it on the fact that although you may freeze and thaw milk very carefully to avoid damage, the act of freezing will cause at least some damage, and reduce the immune properties a bit. It does not make it no good at all, but frozen milk is not as good as fresh milk.

Is your job such that after six months you could stop pumping, provide formula while you are away and fit in even a couple of breastfeeds when you are there? Assuming you are with the baby some time every or most days, a couple of nursing sessions every 24 hours at least would still be a lovely way to reconnect, and also make less work for you when you are at home. It would just be the time you spend enjoying being with the baby and cuddling anyway. Even if you go away for more thn a day now and then, you could take a hand pump and pump on those odd occasions.

I am of course assuming that you have a job where you will be home with the baby on most days sometime over the course of a 24 hour period. Part-time breastfeeding is done by plenty of people and over considerable periods of time, although sometimes people do not realise this is a possibility even.

Teresa

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-21-2009
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 11:59pm

I would say give as much breast milk as you can until it ends rather than spreading it out longer by using less. However, I want to stress there is no research that supports this, it's just my deduction from what we already know. I feel as though the older the baby gets the better able his immune system and digestive system will be to tolerate the formula and lack of breast milk.

Keep in mind you did a better job than most moms in the US.

Warmly,

Kathy Kuhn IBCLC

iVillage lactation consultant

and Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elilanna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas, and Charlotte

 

Kathy Kuhn IBCLC ivillage lactation consultant Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas, and Charlotte

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 1:40am
Just so you know, even if you can't keep pumping at work, if you will be around the baby at all, you can consider continuing to breastfeed for the times a day your with the baby and use formula when for all other feeds. Generally, by 6 moths a moms supply is more stable so you can combo-feed with a good chance of being able to maintain a partial supply. Unless your going to have frequent days where someone else will have to do all the feedings then it's something to consider. Even partial breastfeeding is still beneficial to the baby.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-21-2009
Mon, 08-13-2012 - 9:58am

It's not something that has been researched exactly in that way. There is also no research that says 2oz of breast milk per day gives immune benefits, nor is there any research that the immune benefits stop at 4 months.

Most research shows that the best benefits come the longer the mother breastfeeds. Most studies compare babies who have been exclusively breastfed vs exclusively formula fed for at least 4-6 months. Additional studies also show that mothers who continue to breastfeed in addtion to solids after six months give their babies even more benefits. Some studies show increased benefits the longer the baby receives breast milk. For example the higher IQ of breastfeeding seems to increase with the longer the child is breastfed. The lower risk of breast cancer for mom seems better the more months or years mom breastfeeds totally between all her children.

So both your friend and your doctor are giving you information that is not based in any research that I know of. Don't hesitate to ask them to show the research that shows that effect.

As best as we know the best benefits come from exclusive breastfeeding until at least 6 months and continueing to breastfeed for at least a year or 2 after that.

What I would advise mothers would be to exclusively breastfeed as long as you can, introduce solids around 6 months or so and continue to breastfeed as long as you can for the best health benefits. If you are already needing some formula I would never say your baby is not receiving benefit from the breast milk she is getting b/c she is also getting formula. There seems to be what we call a 'dose dependent' response. Meaning the more breast milk the better for the baby. So keep breastfeeding and/or providing breast milk as long as you can.

I would generally say try to do give as much breastfeeding and/or breast milk as possible and avoid or minimize the formula as long as you can.

Hope this helps to clarify for you.

Warmly,

Kathy Kuhn IBCLC
iVillage lactation consultant

and Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas and Charlotte

Kathy Kuhn IBCLC ivillage lactation consultant Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas, and Charlotte