So, I am the last breastfeeding blogger to cover the news out on Monday that breastmilk contains stem cells . I am very excited about this discovery for several reasons.
1. We can always make more milk. Just think, your baby comes down with a cancer that is cured with stem cells or has sickle cell anemia and all you have to do is pump a few ounces, send it to a lab and get the cure (I am sure it won't be that easy, I'm not a scientist), well, maybe it's more complicated than that but it could mean a renewable source of stem cells for various treatments to diseases.
2.It could end the whole debate/issue with embryonic stem cells. Why use an embryo if you don't have too?
3. It shows just another way that breastmilk is a living, changing, vital fluid. Not just water or a formula-like substance.
The statement that really caught my eye was what Dr. Cregan had to say about how breastmilk programs the baby's cells and continues the work that the placenta began.
The article from Science Alert says:
He believes that it not only meets all the nutritional needs of a growing infant but contains key markers that guide his or her development into adulthood.
“We already know how breast milk provides for the baby’s nutritional needs, but we are only just beginning to understand that it probably performs many other functions,” says Dr Cregan, a molecular biologist at The University of Western Australia.
He says that, in essence, a new mother’s mammary glands take over from the placenta to provide the development guidance to ensure a baby’s genetic destiny is fulfilled.
Breastmilk provides developmental guidance and genetic programing into adulthood.
That's one to add to the reasons to breastfeed list!