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September 26, 2009

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Question from Cordoba, Argentina:

My daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 3 months ago. She is almost two years old but she is still breast feeding, about four times a day. Her mother has a family history of type 2 diabetes, insulin dependant, although she is not diabetic. We worry about the possibility that if the mother has the bad T cells that produce type 1 diabetes, maybe the bad T cells might be getting into the baby's blood through the mother's milk. Is this possible? Should we stop breast feeding to eliminate this possibility?

Answer:

Just the opposite. Breast milk probably offers some protection through the transfer of unknown immune substances in the breast milk itself. Most of the studies support exclusive breast feeding for as long as possible and thus avoiding exposure to other (i.e., cow’s milk) proteins.

SB