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Scientist shares new studies on infant nutrition |

Health And Family

Scientist shares new studies on infant nutrition

CONSUMERLINE - Ching M. Alano - The Philippine Star
Scientist shares new studies on infant nutrition
Dr. Eduardo Lopez-Huertas

We can’t stress this enough: Breast milk is best for babies. Colostrum — the sticky, yellowish breast milk produced at the end of pregnancy — is nature’s perfect food for newborns, with all the nutrients thrown in for infants’ healthy growth and development. It’s got antibodies that help protect infants from common life-threatening diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. Above all, nothing compares to that magical, poignant bonding moment when a baby latches on to its mother’s breast. 
Hollywood celebrities and supermodels proudly post their breastfeeding selfies — they call ‘em brelfies — on Instagram. Former Victoria’s Secret Angel Karolina Kurkova says it was challenging for her at first but believes there’s no better source of nutrition for babies than mother’s milk. Actress Penelope Cruz admits she got so addicted to breastfeeding (she nursed her son and daughter until they were 13 months old) that she went through a withdrawal syndrome when she had to stop. As an added perk, she reveals that she burned 500 calories a day while she was breastfeeding. Like Penelope, actress and former model Rebecca Romijn happily declares it was “the very best diet” she had ever been on.

Our own celebrities — Marian Rivera, Jolina Magdangal, Bianca Gonzales-Intal, Yasmien Kurdi, Ciara Sotto, Rica Peralejo, Andi Manzano, to name a few — are staunch breast friends.

And now, let’s hear it from multi-awarded British singer and songwriter Adele of the most-sung dark blues-y song Rolling in the Deep. The deeply frustrated new mommy confessed, “All I wanted to do was to breastfeed and then (after nine weeks) I couldn’t and then I felt like if I was in the jungle now back in the day, my kid would be dead because my milk is gone.”

While breast milk remains the golden standard in infant nutrition (particularly because scientists have found it’s got prebiotics and probiotics that help culture healthy bacteria in the baby’s gut) and while virtually all mothers can and should breastfeed, there are women out there who may be lactation-challenged and may just be looking for a safe alternative with the appropriate nutritional value.

Now comes visiting nutrition and health research scientist Dr. Eduardo Lopez-Huertas who, with his dedicated team at the Spanish Council for Scientific Research, completed a study on the benefits of the combination of probiotic lactobacillusfermentum and prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharides in infant nutrition. Findings indicate benefits including an increase in the levels of good bacteria and a decrease in gastrointestinal and respiratory infections in babies who were included in the study.

During birth, bacteria, including probiotics, are transferred from mother to baby as it passes through the vaginal canal. “All that bacterial flora from the mother colonizes the baby and helps in the development and maturation of the baby’s intestines, as well as the immune system,” explains Dr. Lopez-Huertas at a recent open forum with Philippine media. “But you don’t see any of that with babies born by Cesarean Section (CS) because they come from a hospital environment. So, one recommendation is for CS babies to be breastfed immediately so they receive the beneficial bacteria. But it is unfortunate that sometimes there’s a delay in the administration of breast milk due to the surgery. The World Health Organization recommends that breastfeeding be done immediately within the first hour of delivery.”

A devoted dad, Dr. Lopez-Huertas adds with a hint of pride, “My own son was breastfed for two-and-a-half years. Breastfeeding is always good, it’s the best!”

Not a mad scientist but simply a scientist madly in love with his work, Dr. Huertas can’t help thinking aloud, “The first accommodation is breast milk; then, if not possible, we will see in the future a composition of pediatric nutrition which not only contains one probiotic strain but a combination of the probiotic strains and all the prebiotic molecules present in breast milk plus many other things that have to be discovered.” 

So, once more with feeling: Breast milk is best!

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