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Media Release: A Lifetime of Good Nutrition Begins with Breastfeeding

Contact: Kim Cavaliero, 847-519-7730 ext. 233

Schaumburg, IL (March, 2002)--March is good nutrition month and experts agree that human milk is the gold standard of infant nutrition. The Surgeon General of the United States has called breast milk the most complete form of nutrition for infants, and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' statement about breastfeeding, "From its inception, the American Academy of Pediatrics has been a staunch advocate of breastfeeding as the optimal form of nutrition for infants."

Human milk provides the perfect mix of nutrients, hormones and proteins and it cannot be duplicated. Since it is made specifically for the human infant, mother's milk is more easily digested than a foreign substance like infant formula that is made from cow's milk or soy products. In addition to being the perfect nutrition for human infants, human milk is a living substance that changes to meet the baby's nutritional needs as he or she continues to grow and develop.

Protein, one of the most important nutrients in milk, varies greatly from one species to another. The protein in human milk forms a smaller curd in the baby's stomach and is easier to digest than the cow's milk or soy protein in infant formula. Human milk contains all the amino acids in the right proportions necessary for the development of the baby's brain and nervous system.

Human milk contains essential fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) essential to healthy cognitive development and visual acuity. Research shows that premature infants who received their own mother's milk score significantly higher on IQ tests at eight years of age than children who received formula.

Colostrum, which is the first milk produced, is a concentrated form of nutrition specifically suited to a newborn's needs. In addition to providing superior nutrition in the form of vitamins and minerals in the correct proportions, colostrum protects a newborn with a wide array of immunoglobulins, leukocytes, and anti-inflammatory factors.

The composition of human milk changes as the baby grows and its protection against illness is most evident during a baby's first six months of life with many benefits extending well beyond infancy.

Dr. Nicholas Stettler of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia who headed a study about infant obesity which appeared in Pediatrics said that there is an easy way to prevent this obesity; simply follow the American Academy of Pediatrics' guideline -- breastfeed the infant exclusively for six months, followed by the slow introduction of solids and continued breastfeeding to one year or beyond.

Since 1956, La Leche League International has been providing breastfeeding assistance through mother-to-mother support, education and information. To find out more about breastfeeding and infant nutrition, log on to La Leche League's award-winning website at or contact us at (847) 519-7730.

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