0

votes

Breast feeding and obesity

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 18, 2011 at 10:31 PM

We know that breast feeding is great for the babies, and its excellent effects on the babies' immunity is well established. I have also read about the supposed benefits of breast feeding in terms of fighting children??s obesity, and here I am a bit skeptical: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/395305.stm There are potential confounding factors: it is likely that the women that breast feed their babies are more conscious in terms of nutrition and therefore, the "effect" on obesity may not come from breast feeding but rather from the diet that the children had later as toddlers. What do you say?

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

this is very interesting you mention two factors that I had never thought about, thanks!

04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

(2261)

on February 19, 2011
at 03:24 AM

I lost all my extra baby weight from breast feeding, like really super fast.

2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d

on February 19, 2011
at 02:56 AM

I do understand. There is so much that gets programmed into what happens to you from birth! Never discount the amount of time that something happens in nutrition. Even moms who have to return to work and cannot pump know the benefit of 6 weeks of breast feeding versus none at all.

F9a0b72f38860d7601afd5a45bb53394

(3618)

on February 19, 2011
at 02:43 AM

To add on to what Ambimorph said, you can't afford to cut your carbs back too far when you are breastfeeding because then you begin to affect your milk supply. Human milk is very high in lactose. Lactose is made from glucose. You've got to have *some* extra glucose supply coming in if you expect to have enough milk for your child. It isn't necessary to go to excess but obviously a VLC or zero carb diet is not going to cut it.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on February 19, 2011
at 01:56 AM

I am afraid that if the mother is having unhealthy nutrition such as SAD she will end up gaining weight, perhaps lots of weight, after breastfeeding for several months. Actually I have known several cases in which this happened.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on February 19, 2011
at 01:37 AM

The effect of carbs and fructose might stunt the weight loss effects of breastfeeding. Might work more efficiently in totally healthy metabolisms with totally natural foods.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on February 19, 2011
at 01:26 AM

I was basing this on what I've heard from friends (some of whom are leaner after pregnancy than before and attributed it to more than a year of breastfeeding). I'll defer to you guys who have personally experienced it, however.

32d2f8a41a121608d07aa68aa17991c7

(597)

on February 19, 2011
at 01:23 AM

I wish, but I agree that hunger compensates. I'm nursing a toddler (so I'm nursing much less frequently than if I were nursing an infant) and I am still hungry all the time. I'm hoping paleo helps reglate this.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on February 19, 2011
at 01:01 AM

I agree with Ambimorph; though I've had friends and family lose weight easily while breastfeeding, in my experiences nursing two babies my appetite was/is insane. The only thing that comes close to taming it is animal protein and lots of fat.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on February 18, 2011
at 11:47 PM

That doesn't matter. Hunger will compensate. Breastfeeding never helped me lose weight unless I was also not consuming much carbohydrate.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on February 18, 2011
at 11:07 PM

Cheryl I am not sure if you understood my point. I could not agree more with breast-feeding, I am just not convinced that it has a strong "effect" on infants (later in life) obesity rates. I believe that perhaps it is the children diet, after they stopped their breast feeding, what controls its weight.

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

7 Answers

6
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on February 19, 2011
at 01:50 AM

Soy, maltodextrin, corn oil, whey, etc. No way this kind of crap could decently substitute for mother's milk. Much of it is toxic. WHen you think about it, it's surprising babies can survive on this stuff at all. It totally alters digestion, gut flora, ability to absorb nutrition, etc. I would be surprised if this kind of food early on in development didn't cause permanent damage to the immune system, brain development, morphological development of the cranium (causing crowded teeth and narrow sinuses), gut function, etc. There is plenty of evidence that early experiences have a strong impact on genetic expression (epigenetics) and later devopment. Early experiences even in the womb determine which genes will be switched on and which will be switched off. What surprises me is that they have not found more profound effects than just a few IQ points of difference.

5
32d2f8a41a121608d07aa68aa17991c7

(597)

on February 19, 2011
at 01:21 AM

I trained as a doula and one of the things I learned there is that the flow of milk from a breast vs. the flow of milk or formula from a bottle is different depending on how hard the baby sucks. So when the child is hungry she will nurse more vigorously and get more food than if she is simply wanting comfort. If she only wants to be close to mom and satisfy the sucking reflex, she sucks less hard and thus gets less milk.

Also interesting: the breast produces foremilk which is watery, less fatty, comes more easily and satisfies thirst. There is also hindmilk which is fattier and thicker and comes from longer and stronger nursing. Hindmilk is like cream and satisfies hunger.

On the other hand, a bottle gives the same amount of milk or formula with the same amount of calories whether the child nurses for comfort, hunger or thirst.

So children who are bottle fed tend to be fatter than breastfed babies, since they consume calories at times they may otherwise only need comfort. If we learn at an early age to address emotional needs with food, this is a pattern we may well take into childhood and adulthood. To me that would seem a greater explanation for breastfed babies becoming less obese children than their bottle-fed mates.

3
A39d8f5dfc5ac23a9ba3d3ccf85c0632

(190)

on February 18, 2011
at 11:07 PM

Most importantly beyond nutrition, babies learn to feed on-demand (when actually hungry) instead of it being "time" for 8oz.

Also, babies who breastfeeds are exposed to a variety of flavors in their mother's milk, making them more likely to eat those foods when it's time. Formula fed babies often become chicken nugget/fry kids because the pallet has already been developed accordingly.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

this is very interesting you mention two factors that I had never thought about, thanks!

2
F9a0b72f38860d7601afd5a45bb53394

(3618)

on February 19, 2011
at 02:46 AM

I think we need to focus more on what make a person healthy than what prevents obesity per se. Too many people still think obesity's about calories in versus calories out without really understanding what calories in and out really mean. You are not going to burn every scrap of food you eat as fuel, ever, unless you get your calories so low you are starving. You don't want to be starving. Some of those "calories" are actually amino acids that need to go into the muscles, or fat that needs to go into hormones. Food should be thought of as both fuel and spare parts, rather than just as fuel.

So if any of you women reading are expecting and you choose to breastfeed your baby, as I hope you will, do it because human milk is better for the baby than corn syrup solids and maltodextrin and soy, not because you're afraid they'll get fat one day.

1
Medium avatar

on February 18, 2011
at 11:13 PM

Prevents obesity in the mother as well as it takes something like 500 calories to produce a day's worth.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on February 19, 2011
at 01:37 AM

The effect of carbs and fructose might stunt the weight loss effects of breastfeeding. Might work more efficiently in totally healthy metabolisms with totally natural foods.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on February 19, 2011
at 01:26 AM

I was basing this on what I've heard from friends (some of whom are leaner after pregnancy than before and attributed it to more than a year of breastfeeding). I'll defer to you guys who have personally experienced it, however.

32d2f8a41a121608d07aa68aa17991c7

(597)

on February 19, 2011
at 01:23 AM

I wish, but I agree that hunger compensates. I'm nursing a toddler (so I'm nursing much less frequently than if I were nursing an infant) and I am still hungry all the time. I'm hoping paleo helps reglate this.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on February 18, 2011
at 11:47 PM

That doesn't matter. Hunger will compensate. Breastfeeding never helped me lose weight unless I was also not consuming much carbohydrate.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on February 19, 2011
at 01:01 AM

I agree with Ambimorph; though I've had friends and family lose weight easily while breastfeeding, in my experiences nursing two babies my appetite was/is insane. The only thing that comes close to taming it is animal protein and lots of fat.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on February 19, 2011
at 01:56 AM

I am afraid that if the mother is having unhealthy nutrition such as SAD she will end up gaining weight, perhaps lots of weight, after breastfeeding for several months. Actually I have known several cases in which this happened.

04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

(2261)

on February 19, 2011
at 03:24 AM

I lost all my extra baby weight from breast feeding, like really super fast.

F9a0b72f38860d7601afd5a45bb53394

(3618)

on February 19, 2011
at 02:43 AM

To add on to what Ambimorph said, you can't afford to cut your carbs back too far when you are breastfeeding because then you begin to affect your milk supply. Human milk is very high in lactose. Lactose is made from glucose. You've got to have *some* extra glucose supply coming in if you expect to have enough milk for your child. It isn't necessary to go to excess but obviously a VLC or zero carb diet is not going to cut it.

1
2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d

on February 18, 2011
at 10:59 PM

Um, no. There is no comparison in nutritional content of breast milk to infant formula, even if the mother is eating junk food.

http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/organic-parenting/baby-formula-vs-breast-milk-55032001. Alexandra Zissu is a well-know writer on the subject. Also see La Leche League, Nina Planck's writings, even Mayo Clinic, WebMD, etc.

All the other things you mention are true, just don't discount the "perfection" of what nature has provided.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on February 18, 2011
at 11:07 PM

Cheryl I am not sure if you understood my point. I could not agree more with breast-feeding, I am just not convinced that it has a strong "effect" on infants (later in life) obesity rates. I believe that perhaps it is the children diet, after they stopped their breast feeding, what controls its weight.

2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d

on February 19, 2011
at 02:56 AM

I do understand. There is so much that gets programmed into what happens to you from birth! Never discount the amount of time that something happens in nutrition. Even moms who have to return to work and cannot pump know the benefit of 6 weeks of breast feeding versus none at all.

0
C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

on August 16, 2011
at 08:08 PM

I've recently read that good leptin signaling is established with the first colostrum feedings, so that would definitely affect, if not obesity, weight control issues. I wasn't breastfeed--not one drop--and while I've never been obese, I've battled my weight since puberty.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!