March 7, 2012
The American Academy of Pediatrics just published a policy statement reiterating their recommendation that infants should be breastfed exclusively for 6 months. They also made this recommendation in their 2005 paper, but this time they actually quantify the health benefits.
The authors wrote that others have suggested that more than 900 infant deaths per year in the United States could be prevented if 90% of mothers breastfeed exclusively for six months. They also cited evidence that breastfeeding improves neurodevelopmental outcomes and enhances development of host defenses in infants born preterm. Other benefits include the following:
- 72% reduction in hospitalization for respiratory infections
- 64% reduction in the incidence of gastrointestinal infections
- 58% to 77% reduction in the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis
- 36% to 45% reduction in the risk of sudden infant death syndrome
- 27% to 42% reduction in the incidence of asthma, atopic dermatitis, and eczema
- 52% reduction in the risk of celiac disease
- 31% reduction in the risk of inflammatory bowel disease
- 15% to 30% reduction in the incidence of obesity in adolescences and adulthood
- 15% to 20% reduction in the risk of childhood leukemia and lymphoma.
I’ve also proposed arguments made by dentists that bottle-feeding increases your risk of dental crowding and malocclusion. The smaller your jaws, the less airway you’ll have to breathe through properly during the day and especially at night. Notice that sleep-related breathing problems can directly or indirectly influence most, if not all the bullets listed above.
It’s also important to note that the physical act of breastfeeding itself is what protects against dental crowding and an increased risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea later in life. Obviously, exclusive breastfeeding without pumping is not practical or realistic in our society. However, you have to think about these implications.
Do you think Pediatricians are going a good job promoting breastfeeding?
February 10, 2012
Modern life leads to a number of unexpected consequences. Here’s an interesting study showing that infants that are weaned from liquid diets to finger foods rather than being spoon-fed pureé diets are much less likely to be obese later in life. In spite of the fact that infants in the spoon-fed group were offered more fruits, carbohydrates, vegetables and proteins, they wound up preferring sweets more than the self-fed children.
The most likely explanation is that early mechanical stimulation of the gums and teeth leads to more optimal dental and jaw development. This goes along with Dr. Corrucinni’s work showing that eating softer foods is associated with a higher risk of malocclusion and dental crowding. Dental crowding, by definition, increases your risk of obstructive sleep apnea by crowding your breathing passageways. Bottle-feeding can also aggravate dental crowding as well.
December 10, 2011
Dr. Brian Palmer is an internationally recognized expert on dental malocclusion, infant feeding habits, and its’ relation to obstructive sleep apnea.
Topic: The Evolution of Malocclusion & Sleep Apnea
Guest: Dr. Brian Palmer
Length: 2 hours
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May 25, 2011
Researchers were surprised that that rate of ADHD and autism have spiked over the last 10 years. ADHD increased 33%, whereas autism increased from 0.19% to 0.74% over the same time period. Honestly, I’m not surprised by these results. Here’s my explanation for the continued rise in these two common developmental disorders:
- There’s definitely more awareness of these two conditions (ADHD and autism), as well as more inclusive criteria for diagnosis
- Implementation of the back to sleep campaign about 20 years ago
- Worsened diet
- Environmental endocrine disruptors
- Less total sleep time
- increased incidence of allergies and food sensitivities.
There’s even evidence showing that common motor-skill milestones are often coming in delayed, since infants are not spending as much time on their tummies, even during the day. As expected, skull deformities (flat head) are much more common since the back to sleep campaign.
What does this have to do with obstructive sleep apnea? Here are 3 important reasons:
- Factors 2 to 6 all significantly increase your risk for obstructive sleep apnea, through either poor jaw development or inflammation of the upper airway.
- Obstructive sleep apnea can predispose to obesity, which narrows your airway even further
- Sleep-breathing problems begin during infancy, and the lack of deep, efficient sleep, not to mention frank hypoxia from apneas, can be detrimental to the infant’s brain development and biochemical pathways.
I realize that there are a number of other possible reasons for ADHD or autism (probably a combination of many factors), but not getting deep sleep can be a major barrier to proper brain development. Studies are definitely needed in this matter. Unfortunately, the medical/pharmaceutical industry is unlikely to change the status quo.
What do you think about this study? It is from over-reporting or more awareness, or is it for real?
May 10, 2011
There are numerous studies on the health benefits of breast feeding, and here’s another one that supports my sleep-breathing paradigm, that your overall state of health is directly proportional to how well formed your jaws are as you age (and subsequently your breathing passageways).
Researchers from Oxford University in the UK found that infants who were breast-fed for at least 4 months had a 33% less chance of having behavioral problems by age 5. They speculate that breast milk has higher amounts of healthy fatty acids, growth factors and hormones that contribute to healthier brain development.
The one thing that all these studies fail to address is that bottle-feeding can cause malocclusion and jaw narrowing. The smaller your jaws, the less room there is for your tongue, which can cause breathing problems when the infant is placed on his back. Add muscle relaxation from deep sleep, and you’re going to deprive infants of quality deep sleep which is vital for proper brain development. With the addition of back sleeping in infants to bottle-feeding, it’s likely that this combination is a major reason for the significant rise in pediatric developmental problems that are so rampant these days.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, were you breast or bottle-fed as an infant?
December 23, 2010
Here’s a study that showed that boys that were breast-fed as infants for at least 6 months do better in school compared with boys that were bottle-fed. Enhanced nutrients in breast mild and mother-infant bonding were thought to be reasons for this finding. Breast-fed girls also has mild increases in test scores, but the results were not statistically significant.
One major omission from the conclusion of this study is the fact that breast-feeding protects against developing obstructive sleep apnea. Dentists have long said that bottle-feeding promotes malocclusion and dental crowding. The smaller the jaws, the less room there is for the tongue, and the more often you’ll stop breathing at night.
Another important point is that pumped breast milk is not the same as breast-feeding. Unfortunately, our society and modern time don’t make it easy to exclusively breastfeed.
What are your thoughts on this? If you have sleep apnea, do you remember if you were breast or bottle-fed?
November 10, 2010
Here’s some good news for new moms: That women who breast-feed sleep the same amount as those who bottle-feed. This is an important issue since bottle-feeding has been shown to cause or aggravate dental crowding and malocclusions. Having smaller jaws (think smaller mouth) crowds the tongue and other soft tissues of the mouth and throat, aggravating or promoting obstructive sleep apnea.
This brings up a very sensitive issue, which implies that infants should be breast fed by using the natural breast, rather than pumping and using a bottle. Most modern women don’t have the luxury, time, or the resources to breast feed exclusively for 6 months or longer. Work schedules, caring for other children, and other demands of modern society makes breast-feeding difficult.
My feeling is that women (with spousal support) should do everything possible to breast feed, but shouldn’t feel guilty for not being able to do so. Everyone has unique circumstances, and ultimately, not everything we want to do is under our control.
What are your thoughts on this issue?
November 12, 2009
In this hour long interview, Dr. Park talks to Dr. Brian Palmer, a former dentist who has done extensive research in the field of infant oral cavity and airway development. In this discussion, Dr. Palmer shares shocking information as to why parents who bottle feed their children are putting them at higher risk for ADHD, obesity, not to mention sleep breathing disorders and what parents can do NOW to prevent these problems from developing later on.
- Why bottle feeding can make your child more prone to sleep problems as adults
- How bottle fed children are more likely to perform poorly in school
- Why bottle fed children are more at risk for sleep apnea,obesity, ADHD, bed wetting and more
- What you can do NOW to prevent health problems for your bottle fed child
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September 19, 2009
Traditional cultures in certain parts of the world practice contraception by breast-feeding. Most doctors will tell you that breast-feeding is not a reliable form of birth control. However, the way a woman breast-feeds is vastly different in the developed areas versus underdeveloped parts of Africa.
In the US, most women who breast-feed on demand begin to taper off to intermittent feedings after a few months or at most 1-2 years, either supplementing with solid foods, or pumping and giving the milk through a bottle. I’ve written about how bottle-feeding is thought to aggravate dental crowding and malocclusion.
In certain parts of Africa (such as in Batswana), women breast-feed on demand, with the child strapped in slings to the mother’s chest, feeding on demand until he or she becomes too heavy or becomes more independent. Typically, this lasts about 2-3 years. My patient confirmed that women would typically have 3-4 children evenly spaced over a span of 10-12 years. Repeated, short bursts of breast-feeding promotes prolactin release, which is an effective form of contraception. In developed countries, the interval between feedings lengthen over the first year, increasing the odds that pregnancy may occur.
He also noted that for the most part, the natives are very healthy, with few stresses, and they generally eat off the land, without too much processed foods or refined sugars. He even feels stronger and healthier when he lives and eats there. The main health problems that he sees are mainly infectious: malaria and HIV.
Dr. Brian Palmer, a dentist that has spent his entire career researching the link between bottle-feeding and obstructive sleep apnea, has stated that in some areas of the world, people can’t afford infant formula, let alone regular food. The only source of nutrition for infants and toddlers is breast milk. Notice that despite the fact that the children are stick thin, they all have nice smiles and bright teeth.
Compare this with pictures of young children (in Dr. Weston Price’s book) who eat lots of sweets and processed foods—you’ll see crooked, stained teeth with lots of cavities, along with narrowed jaws and faces.
Take note of a native rural African’s jaw structure, and compare the facial width and jaw structures against multiple generation African-American faces. It’s a pretty stark difference.
July 10, 2009
Here’s an interesting new tax law: Oregon senator Jeff Merkley sponsored a bill that would create an income tax credit for "50 percent of the qualified breastfeeding promotion and support expenditures of the taxpayer for such taxable year." You can read more about it here.
While promoting breast-feeding is a worthwhile cause, I’m not sure Dr. Brian Palmer would agree with the basic principle of this proposed bill. He argues that the physical act of breast feeding is just as important as the breast milk itself. He’s spend his career showing how bottle-feeding can aggravate dental crowding and malocclusion. This is one of the main reasons for the development of obstructive sleep apnea. Listen to his interview here.