It’s no secret that breastfeeding helps our babies in more ways than one. Driving down the road you’re bound to see a PSA or billboard about how breastfeeding boosts your childs immune system. One thing you probably didn’t expect though, is that breastfeeding has been found to decrease arsenic exposure to infants. A recent study finds that mothers who practice exclusive breastfeeding pass on little to no arsenic to their babies when compared to mothers who do not breastfeed; who are inadvertently exposing their babies to arsenic (among other dangerous chemicals).
How our babies are coming into contact with Arsenic (known most for its use in rat poisoning)
Recent studies show that there are several contamination sources that are leaking arsenic into our food and water supply across the world. Whether you’re eating fish, rice, or vegetables that have been irrigated with contaminated water, you’re likely to get some level of exposure.
The problem with this is that everyone knows that the first year of a child’s life, their immune system isn’t great. While they do have some coverage a few months after birth thanks to mommy’s immune system, they are not completely protected.
Won’t arsenic get passed from me to my baby if I have it?
Thankfully, this study shows that significantly less arsenic is transferred to infants during breast feeding than is transferred during bottle feeding or formula feeding. This is just another reason mother nature has built us equipped to procreate and nurture our children naturally.
Can breastfeeding my baby sometimes help with this?
The answer according to this study, is no. Mothers who breastfed their children only some of the time were tested along with their babies. Quoting from the study, “Accordingly, the arsenic concentrations in urine of infants whose mothers reported exclusive breast-feeding were low (median, 1.1 microg/L; range, 0.3-29 microg/L), whereas concentrations for those whose mothers reported partial breast-feeding ranged from 0.4 to 1,520 microg/L (median 1.9 microg/L).”