Friday, September 2, 2016

Baby Spit Backwash

My daughter Soraya...
As a new father, I’m gaining many insights about the beginning of a human life.

My daughter is 6 months old, and for those six months she has received her nutrients and medicine strictly through breastfeeding. 

Medicine? Really?

That was my initial reaction after my wife summarized the article I’m sharing with you now. 

The More I Learn About Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am

Our subject this week is symbiotic relationships, and I can’t think of one more impressive than the mother/child mutual relationship.

It turns out that when a breast-fed baby acquires an illness, the mother’s body acts as a doctor by diagnosing the baby via the breast, and delivers the proper antibodies the baby needs to get well.

How does this diagnoses take place you may ask? 

Katie Hinde, a biologist at the Center for Evolution and Medicine at Arizona State University explains to us: 

“When a baby suckles at its mother's breast, a vacuum is created. Within that vacuum, the infant's saliva is sucked back into the mother's nipple, where receptors in her mammary gland read its signals. This "baby spit backwash," as she delightfully describes it, contains information about the baby's immune status. Everything scientists know about physiology indicates that baby spit backwash is one of the ways that breast milk adjusts its immunological composition. If the mammary gland receptors detect the presence of pathogens, they compel the mother's body to produce antibodies to fight it, and those antibodies travel through breast milk back into the baby's body, where they target the infection.”

I must say, the past six months of my life has been so enlightened by the presence of my daughter. From her first breath in this world to her first tooth appearing just days ago, there is a new lesson and experience everyday. 

This aspect of the symbiotic relationship between a mother and child stands out as one of the most fascinating lessons thus far. 


The More I Learn About Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am, by Angela Garbes

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