The World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists all urge new parents to exclusively breastfeed babies that are younger than 6 months.
But not every parent can do this for a variety of reasons, such as milk shortage, discomfort, scheduling conflicts, or just not wanting to. While these are all valid reasons to cease nursing, one research suggests a gene abnormality may be responsible for low milk production.
The research was published in Breastfeeding Medicine by Penn State College of Medicine. It focused on reported insufficient milk supply (PIMS) when women cease nursing due to a lack of supply. The study followed 88 mothers aged 19 to 42 for a year. Moms were also asked about their baby’s feeding patterns at one, four, six, and twelve months old, particularly estimated milk supply and if the formula was used and why. Many women said they use formula because of insufficient milk supply, allergic responses to breast milk, working time, childcare, or other time restrictions.
The scientists also took saliva samples from the moms. They looked for alterations in 18 genes found in milk-producing tissues in women to see whether there was a link with PIMS. They discovered ten gene variations, one of which was more common in PIMS women. The researchers discovered that whereas age, prior nursing experience, and BMI did not influence PIMS or PAMS (perceived adequate milk supply), this mutation did. The research suggests that testing for this mutation, along with other characteristics like age and BMI, might help identify parents at risk of discontinuing nursing early owing to supply issues.
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