Pam Allyn, a Loyola University Health System lactation consultant, said after writer Florence Williams was nursing her second child, she had her breast milk analyzed for toxins and found trace amounts of pesticides, dioxin, a jet-fuel ingredient and high-to-average levels of flame retardants. She caused a stir after she reported her findings.
"All human bodies contain toxins. This includes infants, regardless of what they are fed," Allyn said in a statement. "The question is, which has greater risk and fewer advantages -- breast milk or formula? Breast milk is still best for babies for its numerous protective benefits."
Feeding infants formula include an increased incidence of sudden infant death syndrome, hospitalization for lower-respiratory tract infections, childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, leukemia and asthma, Allyn said. In addition, not breastfeeding also increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer for mothers.
The World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatricians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Public Health Association recommend breastfeeding infants for at least 12 months.