The Enteromammary Pathway: A Baby’s Secret Weapon

James R. CoffeyStarred Page By James R. Coffey, 29th Aug 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/vlt82b09/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Babies

As scientific analysis has shown, breast milk is a unique “living” fluid that contains anti-infective factors, hormones, enzymes, specialized growth factors, anti-inflammatory mediators, leukocytes, stem cells, and untold specific nutrients. And while these benefits are certainly reason enough to choose breast milk over any other type of infant nourishment, there is a miraculous added benefit that can only take place when baby puts mouth to breast: activation of the Enteromammary Pathway.

Mothers' own milk

While for several decades, breastfeeding and the importance of breast milk fell out of favor across much of the world with the advent of baby formula, few deny the many benefits mothers’ own milk provides.

Recognized as the biological and sociological norm for humans, experts today emphasize that breastfeeding is the superior, species-specific nourishment for infants; one that cannot be artificially replicated nor replaced. And no sooner would we expect an elephant to feed its offspring horses’ milk, nothing--not cows’ milk nor prepared formula--can do what a human mother’s breast milk can do for her baby.

Mouth to breast

As scientific analysis has shown, breast milk is a unique “living” fluid that contains anti-infective factors, hormones, enzymes, specialized growth factors, anti-inflammatory mediators, leukocytes, stem cells, and untold specific nutrients. Among its many remarkable components, colostrum--a fluid secreted by the breast during pregnancy and the first days of postpartum--consists of immunologically active substances, white blood cells, protein, fat, and carbohydrates which has major health benefits that can be acquired no other way. And while these benefits are certainly reason enough to choose breast milk, there is a miraculous added benefit that can only take place when baby puts mouth to breast: activation of the Enteromammary Pathway.

External receptor cells

In simple terms, on the surface of a mother’s breasts are external receptor cells that do a truly remarkable thing: they absorb bacteria from her baby’s skin which is then transported into the mother’s own system where she makes antibodies specific to fighting that bacteria.

Quite purposefully, mothers’ milk protects the environment of each baby by providing a specialized interaction unique to each individual mother/baby pairing. So whether it’s a mother/baby living in Bangladesh, or New York City, those mothers protect their babies from whatever environmental factors they may encounter then and there. Although these mother/babies may come across completely different pathogens in their individual environments, each mother’s milk is specific for her baby alone. The Enteromammary Pathway essentially allows the mother/baby pair to share an immune system.

But why does nature establish this interrelated defense system in the first place?

Analysis

In “Immune System in Human Milk and the Developing Infant,” Dr. Armond Goldman explains the relationship between the Enteromammary Pathway and delayed maturity of the newborn infant’s own immune system: “Further analysis suggested that such developmental delays allowed considerable energy and nutrients to be diverted to the growth and development of other systems such as the central nervous system, skeleton, and skeletal muscles as long as the mother was providing the necessary defense agents through her milk.”

This means that the Enteromammary Pathway allows a newborn to prioritize growth, focusing on areas that absolutely must be developed in order to survive. Because of limited space in utero, these areas of highly specific growth must happen after birth; continued skeletal and neurological growth cannot be accomplished while in the womb and so they must continue at an accelerated rate outside the womb.

Thus, the mother, by way of her natural feeding system, is designed to support her newborn baby during these phases of accelerated growth by sharing her immune system through her breast milk. Additionally, mothers’ breast milk protects babies against a number of infectious diseases and toxins to which they are particularly vulnerable such as neonatal meningitis and food allergy.

Choosing breastfeeding

As new evidence surfaces about this relatively new area of study, breastfeeding advocates are encouraging mothers to recognize the great limitations presented by formula use, and to consider breastfeeding when at all possible.

References:
http://nativemothering.com/2010/08/an-explanation-of-the-enteromammary-secretory-host-immune-system/
http://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/full/74/15/4650
http://www.netsvic.org.au/nets/handbook/index.cfm?doc_id=907#Benefits_of_breastmilk
“The Immune System in Human Milk and the Developing Infant,” Breastfeeding Medicine, Goldman, Armond S.
“The Enteromammary Immune System: An Important New Concept in Breast Milk Host Defense,” Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Kleinman, Ronald E., and W. Allan Walker.
“How Breastfeeding Transfers Immunity to Babies.” Science Daily, Eric Wilson.

Images via Wikipedia.org except:
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.unsystem.org/scn/archives/npp11/p41.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.unsystem.org/scn/archives/npp11/ch08.htm&usg=__GoDVF0JfZCuG7tQ5tnfA2vYdRoc=&h=395&w=335&sz=6&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=0MQ1Gh0mTmi3kM:&tbnh=155&tbnw=132&ei=-fz7TeHUK9O3tweHleG7Dg&prev=/search%3Fq%3Denteromammary%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26biw%3D1174%26bih%3D650%26gbv%3D2%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=129&vpy=69&dur=4336&hovh=244&hovw=207&tx=114&ty=136&page=1&ndsp=16&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0&biw=1174&bih=650

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Tags

Benefits Of Breast Milk, Breast, Breast Feeding, Breast Milk, Breast-Feeding, Breastfeeding, Breasts, Colostrum, Dr Armond Goldman, Enteromammary Pathway, Health Benefits Of Breastfeeding, Immunologically Active Substances, Infant Immune System, Infant Nourishment, Motherbaby Dyad

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author avatar James R. Coffey
I am founder and head writer for James R. Coffey Writing Services and Resource Center @ http://james-r-coffey-writing-services.blogspot.com/ where I offer a variety of writing and research services including article composition, ghostwriting, editing...(more)

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Comments

author avatar Retired
30th Aug 2011 (#)

Outstanding article, as usual. Well researched, finely penned and easy to follow--plus backed up by good source and pics. I missed this gift as an infant. Only had one week of it (and that. too, many days after birth--was a premie under 4 lbs.) :-)

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author avatar kaylar
30th Aug 2011 (#)

You probably wonder why in 3rd World Countries where breast milk is used 99.999% of the time there is a great deal of infant mortality, brain damage, and unhealthy children.

This is because, as is evident, if a woman has a specific vitamin deficiency she passes it on to her child.

If a woman, for example as is common in many 3rd world nations has a B vitamin deficiency she can't give the infants what she doesn't have so s/he suffers the effect.

One of the 'dumbing down' tactics which was used in the late 60s into 70s and on to present is the 'Breast is Best' campaign.

Only healthy women, women who have been to real clinics and been tested can pass on the benefits of breast milk to their children. Most only pass on anemia and disease.

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author avatar James R. Coffey
30th Aug 2011 (#)

non-sense.

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author avatar kaylar
30th Aug 2011 (#)

No it is not. i liv3 in the 3rd world. 99.9999% of the women breast feed. We have high infant mortality, we have marked levels of permanent brain damage, we have a lot of problems. WHO did a study.

In Western societies, where there is good health care a woman would be tested, and if she is found to be anemic or have other problems she would be discouraged from breast feeding. In the 3rd world there is no streaming, there is no testing.

Havent you ever wondered why people in the 3rd world are not all that helathy?


According to your information 3rd world people should be far healthier...they aren't.

I am not talking about those dying of Famine, or malaria. I am talking about plain WHO statistic taken on the Healthy population.

But hey, you can dispute WHO, you have freedom of speech.

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author avatar James R. Coffey
30th Aug 2011 (#)

I truly hope you do not spread these misinformed, foundationless ideas. You simply do not know what you are talking about. I was part of a year-long, cross-cultural university study that proves beyond a doubt that your ideas are utter non-sense and borderline propaganda. Write about what you actually know and leave science to scientists. You are doing women a great injustice.

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author avatar Lulu
1st Jul 2013 (#)

I live in a third world country too and I can vouch that it is NOT true that 99.99% of mothers here breastfeed! It's actually scary because most mothers are made to think that their milk is not adequate and since they cannot afford to buy formula milk, they give their babies either rice water, sugar water, evaporated milk etc which are not suitable for babies. This probably explains the high infant mortality rate.

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author avatar Jinx
28th Feb 2014 (#)

Do you live in a 3rd world country? Because I do and what most 3rd world habitants do is feed infant formula to their children even if they cannot afford it due to lack of information. They are led to believe by advertisements on formula that their children will grow up to be geniuses. In the philippines alone, it is estimated that around 80% of mother no longer breastfeed their newborn right from day one they choose formula.

So unless you live in a 3rd world country and provide proof of your claim, it remains nonsense for me.

Breast is still best!

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author avatar Delicia Powers
30th Aug 2011 (#)

Informative article thank you James, always well done and something new to learn:0)

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author avatar James R. Coffey
30th Aug 2011 (#)

My pleasure, Delicia.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
31st Aug 2011 (#)

Extremely well-presented, James. Excellent post.

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author avatar James R. Coffey
31st Aug 2011 (#)

Thanks, Steve. Appreciated.

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author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
31st Aug 2011 (#)

Very interesting piece here, James... And well presented.

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author avatar James R. Coffey
31st Aug 2011 (#)

Thank you sir David!

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author avatar Retired
4th Sep 2011 (#)

As a mother the quality of milk is determined by the food you eat and the amount of milk and water you drink. To have painless breastfeeding, it depends on the quality of latching on from the baby.

The best way to latch the baby on is to put the whole aerola into the mouth of the baby and keep the nose free as you can suffocate the child. There are different ways of holding the baby but the most common is on the arms balancing the head on elbow with hand holding the head.
You pass on the antibodies from the body of the mother to the child while breastfeeding and this does mean any alcohol consumption, drugs etc. Would taint the quality of milk and it production.

It also pays to have a calm and peaceful home environment to be able to breastfeed your child as disharmony reduces the quality of milk production in matter of hours thereby rendering the child without food.

You may continue to produce milk for at least 2-3 year post childbirth irrespective of whether your child is suckling or no. Such a phenomena is usually termed as a wet-nursing and something that can be used to suckle young ones who have lost their mothers just to give them the immunity they need. That is how animals who are not of the same species take care of young ones of other species. Its called maternal instinct in simple words and all governed by the flow of thoughts and the feeling of love and bonding for the little child in arms.

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author avatar Mommy4Lactation
22nd Jun 2012 (#)

Good advice, only one thing... where u said "the whole aerola in babys mouth is the best way to latch" I wrk in lactation & hv seen aerolas the size of saucer plates, but hv yet to see a baby w/a mouth tht big ;) I hv went into rooms however where moms are trying to shove their entire aerola in babys mouth resulting in horrible or no latch & very upset baby. I see u point as much as possible.IS best just a wording issue for me! This is a very interesting article wld love to read more on thi

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author avatar deepa venkitesh
19th Nov 2011 (#)

wow, I came upon this just after I finished submitting a poem in memory of my mother. thank you dear,your article explains it all clearly. I am a mother too.

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author avatar James R. Coffey
19th Nov 2011 (#)

My pleasure.

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author avatar Mommy4Lactation
22nd Jun 2012 (#)

Great article!!! :)

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author avatar Retired
4th Dec 2013 (#)



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Please write me direct to my email address so that i can be able to responds back to you. roseapia_2013@yahoo.in

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