subject: lactation

Breastfeeding Protects Women Against Cancer

Breastfeeding Protects Women Against Cancer

Cancer cure or prevention? An enormous amount of research and funding is channeled into finding a cure for cancer, yet less attention is paid to factors that prevent it. Certainly, there is not one magical practice to prevent cancer, as research shows that our cancer risk is influenced by many factors, one of which is breastfeeding. Read More...

Why Mothers Should Boost Their Vitamin D Intake

Why Mothers Should Boost Their Vitamin D Intake

A mother's milk is the finest food her baby can get, but it's not perfect—or so it seems. It has become clear in recent years that most infants don't get enough vitamin D from breast milk—not by a long shot. Does this mean breast milk is inherently flawed, by some quirk of nature? A new study refutes this common belief by demonstrating that breast milk can indeed provide babies with enough vitamin D if their mother cranks up her vitamin D intake by more than 10 times the currently recommended amount. Read More...

Do Larger Breasts Make More Milk?

Do Larger Breasts Make More Milk?

Large breasts are often considered more attractive, but how about their function as organs destined to produce milk for the nourishment of the baby? During pregnancy and, particularly during lactation, women are mostly interested in their breasts as sources of food and growth signals for their baby. But, especially among women with breastfeeding difficulties, it is common for women to wonder, “If I had larger breasts, would I produce more milk?” Read More...

Success Stories

Success Stories

Anyone involved in healthcare in the United States has probably heard that breastfeeding rates among African American mothers are much lower than those of any other racial grouping. As it happens, breastfeeding initiation rose by 8% in the African American community between 2000 and 2008, but the aforementioned gap still didn’t narrow. Research into the topic tends to focus on why these women aren’t breastfeeding, with studies often emphasizing statistical results, sometimes based on narrowly worded questionnaires. Recently, however, a nurse named Becky Spencer turned this perspective on its head: she has sought to understand African American breastfeeding successes. Read More...

Evolution Solves a Problem of Premature Milk Loss

Evolution Solves a Problem of Premature Milk Loss

The mammary gland is an amazing example of a dynamic tissue capable of undergoing major changes to match the infant's need for milk. Hormonal regulation during pregnancy causes the growth of new mammary cells, and the gland enlarges to prepare for milk production. We know a lot about signals that are reset following birth to coincide with lactation, but exactly what tells the mammary gland to stop producing milk is less clear. Read More...

Lactating Helps Rats Remember

Lactating Helps Rats Remember

If you were to stop strangers on the street and ask them whether pregnancy and breastfeeding enhances or diminishes memory, some might lean towards an old wives’ tale: pregnancy is supposed to bring with it an underperforming or shrunken brain[1]. But why would this make sense from the point of view of evolution? Recently, researchers working on spatial memory in rats have made the point that it doesn’t. Instead, they have found that a specific kind of memory, called ‘object-in-place’ memory, actually improves over the course of having and nurturing an infant. Read More...

The Search for Dairy Genes

The Search for Dairy Genes

The original practice of applying personal preferences for selection evolved into a modern and sophisticated science. The latest genetic tools to apply to this science are “personalized” individual animal genome sequences and SNP genotyping arrays. These same tools are being used to evaluate the genetic makeup of existing breeds with dairy breeds, specifically Holstein-Friesian, as a reference point. Read More...

Maternal High Fat Diet: Consequences for Young.

Maternal High Fat Diet: Consequences for Young.

Mothers know that they are eating for two during pregnancy and lactation- but more is not always better. In a recent paper, Mendes-da-Silva and colleagues conducted an experiment to understand how the diet a mother consumed affected offspring development (2014). Read More...

Picking Winners: How to Identify Genes Important for Neonatal Growth

Picking Winners: How to Identify Genes Important for Neonatal Growth

We all know that newborn babies need frequent and adequate nutrition to get a good start on life. Indeed, it is a particularly susceptible period when insufficient nutrition or complications can be life threatening. In recent years, it has also emerged that nutrition and the pattern of growth in this period can affect lifetime health and well being. By far the best source of nutrition during this period is mother’s milk, which is tuned to the babies nutritional and growth requirements. So as you might expect, there is a close relationship between the volume and composition of milk consumed by babies and their rate of growth. Read More...

Monkey Model of Milk and Lactation

Monkey Model of Milk and Lactation

Like humans, monkeys generally give birth to one baby at a time and nurse them for extended periods during a time of infant and toddler-like development. Primates need this extended lactation period for social development. Just as humans need to learn interpersonal and societal rules, monkeys also need to learn how to find food and not kill each other. Thus, monkeys, like humans, produce a dilute milk to feed slow-growing young. Read More...

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