Could Breastmilk Cure Cancer?
I had a difficult time breastfeeding. I was never able to accomplish exclusive breastfeeding, but I continued to supplement and nurse my son until he was 9 months and I started prerequisites for nursing school. I've always been an advocate of breastfeeding in ANY capacity. We know, breast is best. I won't sugarcoat that; it is. But I also do NOT believe in shaming anyone that makes a decision not to, or cannot breastfeed. As a lactation counselor, my job is to educate and support; without judgement.
I'm such an advocate for breastfeeding because of all the benefits for mom and baby. Moms that breastfeed have a decreased risk of cervical, breast, and uterine cancers. If she has SUPPORT, breastfeeding can decrease her risk of postpartum depression.
There are undeniable benefits for babies that nurse, as breastmilk has properties that cannot be replicated in formula. Breastmilk is jammed packed with antibodies that fight viruses, and this is why breastfed babies don't get sick as often. But the ground breaking news that had social media in a frenzy is this picture here.
This photo posted on Facebook by Vicky Greene. The petri dishes above, contain the bacteria M. Luteus. She then added breastmilk samples to each of the Petri dishes. Some of the breastmilk was a mom of a 15-month-old, and others with breastmilk from the mom of a 3-year-old. What you're looking at is a dish filled with bacteria, except in the center. In the center, where the breastmilk was dropped, the bacteria has been completely destroyed.
Greene says, “The white spots in the middle are discs soaked in two samples of breast milk. See the clear bit around the discs — that’s where the proteins in the milk have killed off the bacteria!”
Here's the kicker, this isn't even colostrum (the jam packed antibody breastmilk moms get in the first few days) or breastmilk from an infant! We're talking about breastmilk from TODDLERS. That alone destroys the notion of "extended breastfeeding". Which, by the way, is only a stigma in the US. It's not common in most countries to breastfeed beyond one year. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends two years.
This isn't the first time breastmilk's healing properties have made headlines. A study in 2010, showing that breastmilk contains HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made LEthal to Tumour cells), states that "A substance found in breast milk can kill cancer cells, reveal studies carried out by researchers at Lund University and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden." Breastmilk has been showed to kill 40 different types of cancer!
I tell mamas all the time, that breastfeeding is demanding. Even if you can't manage exclusively breastfeeding, here's another reason why you should consider a supplementation relationship; some breastmilk is better, than no breastmilk. This is a huge reason I started this company; to provide information so women and families can make informed decisions. Need some help with breastfeeding? I'm here! Say hi.