When it came to breastfeeding my two amazing
children, it was an easy choice to make. I wanted to be sure I provided my
children with the very best start in life and I understood that breast milk was
considered the very best first food. Being born African American, we are
already predisposed to developing many chronic illnesses and I wanted to be
sure to do everything within my power to minimize those incidents for my
Breastfeeding decreases the risks for obesity, diabetes and asthma. As a
nephrology social worker, I see firsthand the consequences of obesity that can
lead to diabetes and ultimately chronic kidney disease. According to Center for Disease Control (CDC), a recent study
among Michigan’s children aged 2-5, 16.3% were overweight and 13.3% were obese.
Is anyone other than myself alarmed by those figures?
So many people fail to understand how breastfeeding could impact those
figures. It appears that there are people out there in the universe who under
estimate the power of breast milk. More and more research is finding that the
longer an infant is breastfed, the lower the risk they have of being overweight
and obese as they grow older. Breastfed infants learn to control the amount of
human milk and calories they consume better than bottle-fed infants, who are
often forced to continue feeding and finish a bottle after they are satisfied.
It makes perfect sense. Apparently, energy-dense infant formulas may stimulate
the endocrine system to secrete more insulin and growth factor than human milk
does, which leads to increased rates of body fat in formula-fed babies.
Interestingly, breast milk contains unique hormones that affect a baby’s
appetite, sense of fullness, and help stabilize baby’s blood sugar levels, thus
minimizing the likelihood of developing diabetes. According to National MOTTEP, approximately 2.3 million
African Americans have diabetes. This astonishing statistic further reinforces
the grave importance of breastfeeding our children, specifically African
American children who are at greater risk for chronic illness and
When it comes to asthma, breast milk continues to work its wonderful magic.
The American Lung
Association explains that asthma is one of the most common
chronic disorders in childhood. The strongest links in research for
breastfeeding’s impact on asthma were seen with wheezing and persistent phlegm,
as children were more likely to develop these symptoms if they had never been
breastfed. How about that?
I am happy to report that my children, ages 2 and 7 have experienced very few
colds, zero ear infections with no asthma history and are overall happy and
healthy children. I am proud of my efforts in maintaining their optimal health
and am fortunate to have an incredible support system found with my husband and
extended family. It is my sincere hope that my African American community soon
embraces the concept of breastfeeding and its many benefits to mom and baby.
This can be accomplished by increased awareness, education and support within
As a Board member of Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association
(BMBFA), I’d like to share that we are a growing force in the community to aid
breastfeeding families. BMBFA, based in Detroit, MI aims to eradicate the
racial disparity in breastfeeding rates among African American women. We offer
one-on-one and group breastfeeding support, information and education. BMBFA’s
Breastfeeding Club meets regularly, for more information please visit www.bmbfa.org. In the meantime be safe, be happy
Read more: http://www.momsrising.org/blog/breastfeeding-obesity-diabetes-and-asthma-prevention/#ixzz2M8ydDHuq