my baby was autistic. i didn't know it back then, though. all i knew was that she cried constantly, wouldn't make eye contact, didn't laugh, or play with toys. all she ever wanted was to nurse. she stayed latched on all day and night, it seemed. she was uninterested in food up until the preschool years. i also learned about cloth baby carriers and maya wrapped her starting at age 6 months and continued up to age 2.5. she is now 5, and mostly weaned except for the rare request. she is also now almost normal, especially to the average eye. how was she cured? my educated guess: breastfeeding. here's why i believe it:
(all studies i'm citing are from mainstream sciece publications, found by years of combing Pubmed for info. no crunchy feeling intuitive stuff here)
1. there is a large difference in the percent of kids with autism among children breastfed longer than 3 years. i forget the perecent, but using 1 in 150 in the population in general, it's something like 1 in 300 among long breastfed children.
2. new research links autism to gut flora and gi issues as infants.
3. other new research shows that breastmilk contains up to 600 species of bacteria, and also ingredients that help "good" bacteria grow and prevent "bad" bacteria from colonizing the gut.
4. breastfeeding wires an infants brain- the intimate contact with mother creates brain pathways. my theory- this interaction helps babies connect to people, so maybe it brought my baby into the world of people, through this constant intimate connection with mom. just my own guess, unlike the hard data for points 1-3.
just thought i'd share my countless hours of data combing and personal experience. if you know a mama with an extremely irritable baby beyond normal fussy baby described by dr. sears, and maybe even already labeled with autism, consider recommending that she breastfeed as long as baby is interested. i strongly believe that extended breastfeeding helped my autistic child to such a phenominal degree, that most people can't tell she's autistic now. i also recommend probiotics in the bifido family, but that's a deeper discussion for another forum.