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Dioxins May Be To Blame For Breastfeeding Failures

Why breastfeeding sometimes doesn't workBreastfeeding is the best for baby as well as for mommy. Yet, there are women out there for whom breastfeeding just wouldn’t work no matter how much they tried. Most often these women are confronted with frustration not to mention guilty feelings. “Where did I go wrong?” is the question always asked.

Researchers have now found the reason why many women cannot produce breast milk in ample amount and the message is clear – it’s not your fault, mom. It’s something in the environment. And you are not alone, either. There are between 3 to 6 million other moms like you in the US who are facing a similar problem.

The reason why breastfeeding doesn’t sometimes work may be due to dioxins.

So what do we know about dioxins?

  • It is produced when waste, especially plastics, is incinerated.
  • It is present in large amount in the environment.
  • It is can enter the food chain and get into our food – e.g. fish, meat, and dairy products.
  • It accumulates in our fatty tissues.
  • Prolonged exposure may affect the immune system and developing organs.

So how is dioxin linked to breastfeeding and breast milk production?

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center has found that dioxins can

  • Affect breast tissue development during pregnancy. It can, for example, interfere with the proliferation of breast cells a well as six days into the pregnancy – even before mom knows she is pregnant.
  • Change the induction of milk-producing genes, which usually happens on the 9th day of pregnancy
  • Decrease the number of ductal branches and mature lobules in the mammary tissue.

Unfortunately, the researchers cannot give information on how to protect ourselves. However, there is an indication that watching what we eat during pregnancy might help reduce dioxin’s adverse effect on breast development. Timing is also of importance. It seems that when the harmful exposure occurs early in the pregnancy, the mammary gland still gets to recover. Later exposure might cause irreversible damage.

It is not clear what the effects of dioxin are on newborns but it can’t be any good. Who knows? Maybe it is for the best that breasfeeding moms don’t get exposed to dioxins that might get into the breast milk.


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