Breastfeeding as Prevention
We know that breastfed babies evidence strong advantages over bottlefed infants. Breastfed children have significantly fewer respiratory infections, conditions such as asthma and hay fever, gastrointestinal problems, and skin disorders such as eczema.* Joseph Chilton Pearce, in The Magical Child Matures, reports that chemicals found in mother's milk are actually necessary to stimulate midbrain functions that regulate certain aspects of intelligence. At the National Institutes of Health, researchers followed 855 children from birth to school age and found that the longer a child had been breastfed, the smarter and more coordinated he or she was.†
This may be due as much to the touch and nurturance involved in breast-feeding as to the nutritional value of mother's milk. More than milk is needed to satisfy hunger.
What you are really looking for is not in here." - Sign on a refrigerator
As we said elsewhere, the intimate association between being fed and being cared for is realized very early in life. Need satisfaction and food are joined so strongly that the union endures throughout our development and into adulthood. And so, at age eighteen, or thirty-two, or fifty-five, sitting in your chair reading this book, you are a complex network of needs and assets. Your hunger may be for security, for companionship, or for self-worth, but the easiest and quickest source of satisfaction will probably be food.
* Excellent resources and research are provided at www.breastfeeding.com; and Saarinen U. M., and M. Kajosaari, "Breastfeeding as prophylaxis against atopic disease: prospective follow-up study until 17 years old," Lancet
† Reported in "Breastfeeding and Intelligence," Pediatrics for Parents (July/August 1993), 12.