Umbilical Cord Milking—What Is It? And Why It’s A Good Thing For C-Section Babies
A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests that you not only wait to clamp your baby’s umbilical cord—but that you also consider milking it.
Like, touch it.
It turns out that this old procedure supports your newborn’s health, increasing blood flow and improving:
- Blood pressure
- Red blood cell levels
- Iron levels
Holding the umbilical cord between your thumb and forefingers—then squeezing—and pushing the blood to your baby’s belly offers the same kind of benefits that you see in delayed cord clamping.
But for babies born via C-section, cord milking offers *more* benefits than delayed clamping. This includes greater blood flow to your baby’s heart.
In preterm babies, delayed cord clamping can protect against intraventricular hemorrhage—bleeding in the brain—which is thought to happen because of low blood pressure.
Human Milk Sugars Can Sharply Reduce Your Baby’s Risk Of Allergies
The benefits and nuances of breast milk are many.
And with a steady rise in allergies and other disorders that involve the immune system, researchers are eager to find a solution.
Part of that solution may be in breast milk. Breast milk contains specific sugars that directly stimulate the immune system. And research with mice has found two specific sugars in breast milk that can:
- Protect against the development of food allergies
- Reduce the severity of food allergy symptoms
It looks like breast milk sugars can suppress an inflammatory response by bumping up the production of immune cells that regulate your baby’s reaction and stabilizing other immune cells.
Milk sugars also appear to support tolerance to an allergen.
Antibiotics — Biological Warfare That Devastates Your Baby’s Gut
Have you heard? An antibiotic doesn’t just get rid of an infection — it gets rid of the good guys too.
In a baby, this is bad news. Your baby’s gut and microbiome are especially delicate — shifting communities of microbes that are still finding their tribe and carving out their home in your baby’s digestive tract.
As it turns out, the “good guys” do more than bolster digestion. They also influence metabolism and the immune system.
Martin Blaser and his team recently published a study with mice showing that the antibiotics commonly given in childhood can lead to greater weight gain and the development of larger bones.
This is just the beginning. The extent of damage caused by antibiotic overuse is not known.
What researchers *do* know is that antibiotic use disrupts the microbial landscape of the gut. With repeated use, the damage accumulates. And it is sometimes irreversible.
Martin Blaser—a very cool celebrity scientist—explains,
We have been using antibiotics as if there was no biological cost. The average child in the United States receives 10 courses of the drugs by the age of 10.
The take home is this: Exposing your baby to antibiotics might permanently reprogram your baby’s metabolism and increase the risk of obesity.