Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mother's Milk, liquid gold

Mother's milk is the perfect food for baby. All mammals produce milk to feed their young. The best part is that it is free and naturally occurring! Humans are the only animals who take milk from other animals to feed ourselves and make cheese and other dairy products. We are also the only animal that continues to consume milk after being weaned.

What is in human breast milk? Human breast milk contains saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 fats, DHA, protein, lactose, vitamins, and carbohydrates. It also has Lysozyme which promotes healthy gut bacteria, fights E. Coli and Salmonella and is anti-inflammatory. There is also Lactoferrin, Secretory IgA, and Bifidus factor which all protect the baby from the bad and support support good bacteria. It does not contain Iron which is often added to baby formula.

Breast milk, its not just for babies any more. A New York Chef Daniel Angerer made "Mommy's milk cheese" with his fiance's breast milk. It was not offered for sale or available in his restaurant, you needed to know him to get a taste. It was made with half human breast milk and half animal milk. But long before he was even born, they were doing it in France. Le Petit Singly started making cheese with human breast milk in 1947. They sell this cheese to the public and consider it to be organic. Le Petit Singly has a sweetness with notes of hazelnuts, according to their website http://membres.multimania.fr/petitsingly/.

I even watched a member of the band Blur, Alex James, make a cappuccino for Gordon Ramsey on the F Word using breast milk. Gordon did not have a very positive reaction. You can watch the fun here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-mICAgypGE

Breast milk is very difficult to coagulate. I have read about an attempt to make paneer with 100% human breast milk that was a total failure. You would need something much stronger than lemon juice to curdle breast milk. I think mixing it with animal milk was vital in making "Mommy's milk cheese". I wonder how they make Le Petit Singly. Many people online believe it is a hoax but I do believe in its existence but have no proof.

Daniel Angerer made cheese from his fiance's breast milk because they had a glut and did not want to waste it and donating it was a lengthy process. There has been a massive decline in breast milk banks. One reason for this is a law supporting milk banks expired after World War II. Then formula took off and I can't help but wonder if there is a connection between the decline in milk banks and rise in sales of baby formula. Of course there is a connection but is there a conspiracy?

The sad truth is that there is a need for human breast milk and it has become very difficult to get to those who need it. Some babies do not thrive on formula and some mothers have a hard time breastfeeding. Neil Patrick Harris and his partner have had a hard time getting breast milk for their daughter. They are rich and famous and have minions at their disposal to do their bidding, so why did they have such a hard time getting breast milk?

What happened to the wet nurse? This was very common previous to the 20th century. They still exist and this profession seems to be making a comeback. Some may find it very disturbing to have a baby feed by someone who is not their mother. I know my Aunt breast feed me a few times when I was a baby, this is called cross nursing. I also remember my mother telling me a story of a young woman who was a new mother and was tragically murdered. The neighborhood organized lactating mother's to step in to supply her baby with breast milk. There was no medical exam or blood tests just good people doing something to give a baby what they could to improve an awful situation.

I really hope I can breast feed. Formula scares me and I know it is nowhere near as nutritious as breast milk. Did you hear about the babies in China developing breasts because of powdered milk that was contaminated by chemicals. Breast milk helps a child's immune system and if you do not breast feed you really should not put your baby in day care until they are on solid foods.

My case is a bit different as I take a daily injection drug called Copaxone to treat MS. I have taken it every day during my pregnancy as it is considered safe during pregnancy. But there is no information whatsoever regarding this drug and breast feeding. This makes me very angry and I have been unable to get even a recommendation from my high risk obstetrician or neurologist or the nurse who calls me every few months from Shared Solutions who work for Copaxone. They all tell me the choice is mine with no advice leading me one way or another. I also do not know or have heard of anyone who has been in this situation. If you do, please let me know.

What I do know is that I can go off Copaxone after the baby is born I run the risk of getting sick. In this scenario I would surely get sick and my only option would be steroids. This is not ideal and am already at a high risk of getting sick a few months after the baby is born as hormones change. I had to get off a number of drugs months before I even started trying to get pregnant. I really want to stay on my Copaxone and breast feed. Wish me luck! Maybe a study will actually be done on the matter before my son is born in May.

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