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Breast feeding moms reduce cancer threat
Breast-fed-DSC 1060 gs
Certified Lactation Consultants at Doctors Hospital of Manteca, Deborah Raddatz and Peggy Leach, demonstrate the weighing of newborn infants that takes place every evening to insure the babies are getting proper nutrition from their new mothers as shown in their weight. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Mothers who breast feed their babies for six months to a year have far fewer problems after child birth, according to lactation consultants and counselors at Doctors Hospital of Manteca.

There is a lesser potential for breast cancer for the mothers who solely feed breast milk to their babies. It is a benefit that is passed on to the mothers’ offspring later in their lives, according to Carla Lund who is one of two lactation counselors at Doctors and chair of the program.

Lactation consultants Peggy Leach and Deborah Raddatz agreed that fewer women today say they don’t want to breast feed their babies. However, some say they can’t make milk, which often relates to cultural issues caused early-on in their families’ history by lacking nutrition.

They said that a misnomer came from the feeling that rich people feed formula and those from Third World countries were forced to use evaporated milk and sugar when they couldn’t supply the needed nutrition naturally. In the U.S. of the ‘30s and ‘40s – days of the Depression and the war – Caro syrup and evaporated milk were used to create formulas for the newborn and older infants.

It was a time when many women had to go to work to support their families and didn’t have the time to breast feed. Modern refrigeration wasn’t available to store their milk safely.

They noted that the fear of splitting nipples was also a concern that intimidated some women from choosing to breast feed over bottle formulas.

“If babies aren’t latched on properly nipples will split,” they said, whereas correct procedures are routinely taught by the hospital staff.

Leach said it was actually in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s that formula companies actually took off and a doctor would actually write a prescription and the mother could mix it herself at home.

Diabetes, heart disease, mental illness and cancer are more evident without the sole diet of breast milk for the child in their first year of life, the staff agreed.

The Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation does not accredit any hospital that does not adopt a 10-step breast feeding program – becoming a “Baby Friendly Hospital.”

New mothers at Doctors Hospital must stay at the facility for a minimum of 24 hours and up to 48 hours by law and may be hospitalized up to four days as in the case of C-section births. The average age of mothers in Manteca runs between 25 and 30, staff members noted. The youngest has been about 14 and the oldest in their mid-40s.

There are U.S. Department of Agriculture federal grants for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) offered to states and down to counties in order to supplement foods, health care referrals and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breast and non-breast feeding postpartum women and to infants and children up to the age of five who are found to be at a nutritional risk.

There is a WIC location near to the Manteca Library. Consultant Carla Lund said she is happy to see the federal tobacco taxes used for breast feeding programs throughout the country.

“The tax money is going to something nice,” she said.

Human milk provides all the protein, sugar, fat and vitamins a baby needs to be healthy, a study was quoted. It helps to protect the infant against certain diseases and infections.

The babies are seen less likely to have ear infections, allergies, vomiting, diarrhea, pneumonia, wheezing and bronchiolitis and meningitis and may be a prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the staff related. Some studies also suggest that babies who are breastfed score higher on IQ tests and have better visual acuity.

Breast milk is seen as being more nutritional since it contains the right amount of fatty acids, lactose, water and amino acids for digestion, brain development and growth. Infant formula from a bottle cannot compete with those benefits, the staffers agreed.

The nurses in the delivery section of the hospital – all 24 of them – are all registered nurses with some on per diem assignments. The section includes four labor and delivery rooms and 10 that serve as post partum rooms.

“We urge every breast feeding mom to schedule a consultation when they go home,” Lund said. The telephone