Breast is Best, but it Could Be Better: What is in Breast Milk That Should Not Be?

Marian Condon


Pediatr Nurs. 2005;31(4):333-338. 

In This Article

Case Studies

This article presents issues to consider about the breast-fed infant. As the author states several times, breast-feeding remains the preferable form of nutrition for babies. Nevertheless, nurses should be aware of the history and current state of known breast milk contaminants and how to assist mothers with concerns. Multiple references and resources are given to aid both the professional and parent. — Ann Pike-Paris, Section Editor

"Laura Gerber volunteered to have her breast milk tested for traces of flame-retardant chemicals out of curiosity. The Seattle resident and new mother found out recently that her milk contained the substances at roughly three times the average concentration in the United States and 60 times the level in Europe" (Schmidt, 2004).

Sandra Steingraber, respected biologist, ecologist and author has written a compelling book about the journey through her first pregnancy. She describes the intricate web that already exists between the environment and her baby's prenatal health. The final chapter on breast-feeding is entitled "The View From the Top." This title is derived from the fact that while humans are commonly identified as being at the top of the food chain, it is actually the breast-fed infant who holds this position (Steingraber, 2001).


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