OK In Health - Healing Yourself Naturally

Why Breast is Best! - May 2013

By Dr. Melissa Bradwell

mother  breast feeding a child

With the recent addition of the rotavirus vaccine (Rotarix) for gastroenteritis into the BC Immunization schedule for infants, I feel that it is time to re-visit the benefits of breast-feeding.  Whether you decide to immunize your child with traditional vaccinations is up to you. This article is not about that.

The goal of this article is to illustrate the benefits of breast-feeding and how, with the modern day convenience of formula and possibly the false sense of security with immunizations, it appears to have become a lost art.

The first healthy step in any infant’s life should still be breastmilk. We give babies immunizations so that they are able to defend themselves against the real infection. Breastmilk also helps the baby to fight off infections. When the baby fights off these infections, he becomes immune. Naturally.

Benefits to the Baby:

  • Children receive the most complete and optimal mix of nutrients and antibodies.
  • Have fewer incidences of vomiting and diarrhea and protection against gastroenteritis.
  • Reduced risk of chronic constipation, colic, and other stomach upsets.
  • Reduced risk of childhood diabetes and childhood obesity.
  • Protection against ear infections, respiratory illnesses, pneumonia, bronchitis, kidney infections, allergies, asthma, eczema, and severity of allergic disease.
  • Decreased risk of tooth decay (cavities) and increased bone density.
  • Nursing promotes facial structure development, enhanced speech, straighter teeth, and enhances vision.
  • Breastfed infants develop higher IQ's, and have improved brain and nervous system development.
  • Reduced risk of heart disease later in life.
  • Antibody response to vaccines are higher.
  • Are hospitalized ten times less than formula fed infants in the first year of life.
  • The colostrum (first milk) coats the GI tract, preventing harmful bacteria and allergy -triggering protein molecules from crossing into baby's blood.
  • Decreased risk for vitamin E and Iron deficiency anemia.

Benefits to Mom:

  • Reduced risk of breast, ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancers.
  • Reduced risk of anemia.
  • Protection against osteoporosis and hip fracture later in life.
  • Helps the mother's body return to its pre-pregnancy state faster by promoting healthy weight loss. Half of the calories needed to manufacture milk is pulled from fat stores, which can burn from 500 to 1,500 calories per day.
  • Helps delay return of fertility and to space subsequent pregnancies.
  • Develops a special emotional relationship and bonding with her child.
  • Breastmilk is free, which reduces or eliminates the cost of formula and supplies.
  • Breastfed babies are sick less thus reducing healthcare costs to family in Doctor office visits, prescriptions, over the counter medicine purchases, and hospitalizations.
  • Moms miss less time off from work due to child related illnesses.

Understanding that there are always going to be situations where women can’t breastfeed, such as low milk supply and adoption, it becomes imperative to do your research and find the ‘cleanest’ and ‘safest’ alternative for your baby. There is a great article on the early development of the GI tract and the immune system referenced below. It explains the benefit of introducing certain foods at certain times when your baby’s body is strong enough to handle it.  If you’d like to make your own formula, here is one I share with my patients.


To a 1 L container add:

  • 2/3 goat’s milk: 1/3 water
  • 1 tbsp black strap molasses
  • ½ tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp Omega 3 fatty acids or olive oil
  • 1 tbsp glutamine powder
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 capsule of probiotic

I have always loved children and hope to expand my family really soon.  



Dr. Melissa BradwellDr. Melissa's Bio: Raised in Kamloops, BC, Dr. Bradwell graduated from CCNM in Toronto and returned home to work as a Naturopathic Physician in 2006. She offers a variety of services and treatment options for her patients, including IV therapy, acupuncture, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hormone and allergy testing. Dr. Bradwell is now practicing downtown Kamloops, she can be reached at (250) 374-9700. - Dr. Melissa Bradwell Website - Email

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