Last year. one of 'my dads' shared a link (see bottom of post) that talks about yet another one of the amazing aspects of human milk, in this case, the discovery of the protein in human milk that fights the HIV virus. This identification/discovery is huge news that verifies other studies that conclude that HIV positive moms, in countries where there are not adequate breastmilk substitutes and hygienic environments, should breastfeed their babies exclusively for a period of time. My first wondering was, hmmm, well, why not here, too if that protein works so well? My second thoughts were, as interesting as this study/discovery is relative to HIV, I found that a statement near the end of the article makes this discovery pertinent to ALL moms and babies, not just those with HIV.
"Tenascin C’s presence in breast milk, though, prompts a deeper question: Why would milk naturally include a protein that battles HIV, a virus that evolved extremely recently in our evolutionary history, sometime in the early 20th century?
“I don’t think it’s in breast milk to combat HIV specifically, but there have been other, related infections that have passed through breastfeeding,” Permar says. “Our work has shown that Tenascin C’s activity isn’t specific to HIV, so we think it’s more of a broad-spectrum anti-microbial protein.”
To me, this kind of discovery just goes to show that the importance of breastfeeding isn't all about the stuff we know already, or even the new information that is discovered because of a particular need or situation. The new discoveries and WOW! factors that we end up being able to prove just highlight the incredible substance that we create lists about with reasons for breastfeeding. I guess I tip my head to the side, and wonderingly say, "But our babies need breastmilk for all the reasons that we DON'T even know about yet." The fact is that we are continually finding out about new aspects of human breastmilk that are at the least, important, and probably indeed miraculous. I love the idea of infusing our babies with little bits of miracles every day. ~KF