Adding yet another item to the list of miracles breastfeeding accomplishes, a new report finds that nursing moms can protect their newborns from environmental pollution – at least for a short while. Just by the nature of living in high density areas, city dwellers have long contended with an increase in pollution exposure. More automobiles on the road and more factories at the roadside mean greater levels of nitrogen dioxide and other potentially harmful pollutants. Knowing this, Spanish researcher Aitana Lertxundi set out to study the effects of pollutants on babies’ growth and development. Among her results, was a surprising finding: Breastfed babies were protected from the negative effects of pollution until around four months of age.
A word of warning
Lertxundi began her research in 2006 with a group of 638 expectant mothers. Since then, she has continued to collect data from these women and their children, who have now all turned 8 years old. Among these women and children, Lertxundi found an indisputable correlation between an increase in pollution and slower motor development in babies.
“Even if [these indices] are not worrying, they are significant in that they reveal the relationship existing between air quality and motor development,” Lertxundi said in a statement.
Lertxundi’s words are cautioning: There’s not much to worry about just yet, but the world we live in has the potential to negatively impact the way our kids grow and develop. At least for now, there’s a small, simple step you can take to help mitigate harm – breastfeed your little one.
So, what do you think? Will all the benefits of breastfeeding inspire you to nurse your baby once he or she arrives? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below.