KEYS TO FITNESS: Bottle Feed or Breast Feed? Plus, How Sugar in Mom’s Diet Affects Your Head and Health


By Sheila Yonemoto, PT
(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on June 13, 2011.)


Many moons ago while studying jaw problems and skull development, I learned breast feeding is very different from bottle feeding.

The mechanics of breast feeding, for the child, require more lower jaw movement, like a drawer going out and in, which provides active strengthening of muscles in the face. The mother’s nipple also flattens and gets reshaped so the baby can express milk out of the breast. It has a broader, flatter appearance than what we see with the typical bottle nipple, which is round and bulbous.

The nipple fills the baby’s upper palate and the sucking action provides an upward pressure to help shape the face. This affects the formation of the bite, possibly the eye socket, and pressures in the head, face and mouth.

I recalled this information while attending a recent lecture by Dr. Richard Gorris, DDS. He also gave additional information concerning the development of a baby’s skull. He said the skull develops in three areas: upper third, middle third and lower third of the head. Refined sugar can alter the rate of growth of these different segments, particularly the upper and middle thirds, so they don’t grow evenly. This can affect vision, as the six muscles controlling eyeball movement attach on both segments.

He also stated lauric acid, an amino acid essential for growth and development of the brain, is highest in human milk. The next closest milk to human is goat’s milk and then coconut milk.

We have all heard how drugs the mother ingests during pregnancy affects the developing fetus. These include alcohol, prescription medications, caffeine and over-the-counter drugs. Dr. Gorris said combining certain foods can also produce narcotic-like drugs in the body, which can equally damage the fetus. One example was ingesting gluten, a non-soluble protein found in grains, with casein, another non-soluble protein found in dairy. He was describing pizza, which is made with a high-gluten wheat flour and cheese!

Providing a healthy environment before and after birth will help give the baby the best start in life. Perhaps it could even maximize brain development, create an appetite for healthy foods, optimize healthy vision, prevent jaw problems, improve digestive tract function, and maintain a healthy immune system.

So consider eating fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking adequate amounts of water, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly for good circulation, strength and flexibility, and engaging in happy, social activity for a lifelong habit leading to good health.

Get more energy, lessen stress and rid yourself of aches and pains.  Try a no-impact “Chinese Energy” exercise class at our office. Your first class ($30 value) is free!  Call or visit our website for more information.


Sheila Yonemoto, P.T., has been a physical therapist for over 30 years, specializing in Integrative Manual Therapy utilizing a holistic approach. She can be reached at Yonemoto Physical Therapy, 55 S. Raymond Ave, Suite 100, Alhambra, CA  91801. Call (626) 576-0591 for a free consultation, or visit for more information. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.



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