Exciting Research on Breastfeeding and HIV/AIDS

June 22, 2007

I’ve been interested in this issue for some time. Do HIV positive Moms harm or help their children by breastfeeding? Marian Thompson, one of the cofounders of La Leche League International, founded Another Look to take … well, another look at the research.

Here is a recent finding: Breastfeeding alone cuts the HIV risk. Mixed feeding, meaning partial breastfeeding and partial formula feeding, increases the risk because of the damage formula does to the baby’s gastrointestinal system which cause tiny “cuts” in the baby’s bowel, increasing the likelihood of HIV transmission.

Interestingly, the current party line here in the US is for HIV positive women to formula feed. But in developing lands, where formula is prohibitively expensive, and clean water to mix it with scarce or difficult to obtain, this is not so.

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