Breast milk is absolutely incredible, and this no longer just hearsay, science backs it through and through. An experiment by Victoria Catherine, a first-year microbiology student went viral online.
She showed in the experiment how proteins present in a mother’s breast milk inhibit the spread of bacteria like E Coli and may also help with MRSA bacteria causing a variety of infections. She writes, and we concur, breast milk is the future.
How breast milk is produced
Let’s start with the simple understanding of how breast milk is produced. Mothers basically melt their own body fat to produce breast milk.
It may sound incredibly literal, but that is exactly how breast milk is produced.
Mothers are essentially feeding the babies a part of their own bodies. Through the breast milk, they are sharing their long-built immunity with the child.
More Than Food
Breast milk is not only just food for the baby, it is medicine and a means of communication with the baby. It is through 300 million years of evolution that mothers have finally developed the recipe of breast milk.
It is survival at its best. Even the World Health Organisation recommends that babies should be breastfed for a minimum of 6 months for optimal health.
It is important to note that the nutritional and immunological components of a mother’s breast milk change every day according to the needs of the baby. Breastfeeding babies get all the nutrients, hydration they need from the mother.
Nutritionally there is no food item more complete for babies than mother’s milk. The golden liquid that comes out of a new mother’s breast after first giving birth is high in carbohydrates and protein but low in fat.
This makes it easy to digest and also helps the baby pass stool for the first time.
Human breast milk contains about 150 oligosaccharides that are unique to human beings. It holds an incredible amount of minerals and vitamins crucial for a baby’s incessant growth.
It has sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, as well as vitamins A, C and E. It also contains long-chain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that are crucial to the development of the brain and the nervous system.
Basically, mother’s milk is the baby’s growth serum and immunity booster all at the same time.
Here are a few incredible facts of human breast milk that you may not have heard of:
It Varies Depending on the Child’s Sex
Research has shown that the breast milk produced by mothers varies considerably depending on whether the child is a boy or a girl. It was specifically found that the milk produced for female offspring was lower in fat and protein as compared to milk produced for males. But this changed for a survey conducted in Kenya.
A 2012 research printed in Nature pointed out that impoverished mothers produced a fattier quality of milk for their daughters, while the same held true for well-off families’ newborn sons.
Composition Varies With Baby’s Age
Any mother who has been breastfeeding for a while would be able to attest to this fact. Mothers who have been breastfeeding their baby for over a year will see a marked increase in fat and energy providing contents in their breast milk.
While young mothers will have a higher content of growth proteins and minerals. This change is a testimony to the fact that breast milk adapts to the growth of the child and makes sure that they are well-fed at every age until they are ready to be weaned off.
Breast Milk Adapts to Baby’s Sickness
A mother’s milk is the best medicine for a growing baby. Research goes to prove this. If a baby is suffering from cold the mother’s breast milk spikes the number of leukocytes to help the baby fight against the illness.
The sheer depth of this communication between the baby and the mother is enough to seem magical. Scientists have thought that this is probably because of the backwash from the baby’s mouth through the mother’s nipple.
Helps Reduce Rates of Certain Illnesses
There have been several studies that have gone to show that babies that have been breastfed up to a certain age suffer fewer instances of asthma and allergies.
This is possible because of the short-chain fatty acids found in breast milk help babies develop a stronger immune response. Moreover, research has also shown that human proteins found in breast milk can also help us fight cancer.
Let that sink in for a moment, mother’s milk might help us fight cancer. Awesome, isn’t it?
Helps Babies Sleep
Any mother who breastfeeds regularly knows that once the baby is fed at night, it is almost a given that he or she will sleep soundly. This is because the breast milk produced during twilight has higher levels of sleep-promoting hormones than the milk produced during the day.
This has helped researchers inform mothers that they should be pumping milk during certain times of the day to ensure they are providing their children at the same time every day.
The exploration of breast milk’s magical properties has just begun. Science has only just scratched the surface of the amazing properties of a mother’s breast milk.
As more research comes forth it should be no surprise that we will find more and more amazing things about this magical process. In the meantime, it should be understood that every mother should breastfeed her son or daughter for at least the first 6 months of their life.
A mother and child have a connection that transcends our meager understanding. Celebrate this connection, to avoid it would not only put you at risk but also put your child at risk as well. At Regency Medical Center we provide new mothers with a complete set of instructions to help them cope with this amazing time in their life.
The biggest problem among new mothers is the sheer lack of information they have about the various changes that they and their child will go through. At RMC we make sure that we avoid this thoroughly.