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Milk Matters Book One by Maureen Minchin

Authors:
  • Milk Matters P/L

Abstract

This book argues that a Milk Hypothesis should subsume and replace the hygiene and biodiversity hypotheses in explaining the developmental origins of health and disease. Exposure to infant formula in the earliest days of life alters normal development by changing the microbiome and impacting on normal gut development and the genome. That in turn affects physical and mental development. Lactation is a highly evolved and conserved strategy for maximising health of both mother and child. Interference with lactation in the early days of life has short-term, longterm and intergenerational effects, and has created the vertically-communicated epidemics of inflammatory disease. These developed initially in WEIRD nations where formula feeding was state-subsidised, and now are emerging globally as the formula market has grown from $2billion in 1980 to more than $60billion now. The biological effects of artificial feeding on reproductive, immune, and brain tissue, and on the size and function of bodily organs, are only now being documented. The effects on women's health of not lactating after birth are equally serious. Breastfeeding and the use of human milk need to be seen as necessary, not as optional choices, and society needs to be structured to enable - rather than simply promote-maternal breastfeeding and the use of donor milk. This is a population health issue with major social equity and environmental ramifications.
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