Why breast milk is the best? If you are breastfeeding your child, congratulations! You have done a good job by feeding your child the best nutrients for your baby’s growth.
It is recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF that breastfeeding your child at least for 6 months and breast milk is the only perfect food for newborns.
Newborn babies need breast milk exclusively for the first few months of life to support their growth and development. Once they start reaching about 6 months of age, solid food can be introduced and breast milk is still important to support half or more of their nutritional need. To date, there is no formula milk in the market which is close to breast milk. At least 400 types of nutrients cannot be man made especially colostrum (the first milk produced in the end of pregnancy).
Why breast milk is the best?
Breast milk is naturally produced by all mammals including human and its nutritional needs changes at different stages of the feeding. In other word, all women are able to breastfeed their child by nature. For some reasons women refused to breastfeed their child or their health condition has made breastfeeding not possible, there are breast milk donors available who are willing to donate their breast milk for those who need them.
If both of these options are not possible, no headache! You still can find alternative food source for your newborns and there are made available in the market- formula milk. It is fine to let your child consume and do not feel guilty about not being able to give breast milk. Formula milk is also equipped with sufficient nutrients for them to thrive.
Well, let us look at why breast milk is the best.
NO.1 : Colostrum
This is the first milk produced during the late pregnancy. It is yellowish liquid let down in small amount in the first few days postpartum before thick and creamier mature milk is produced. This first milk contains protein and antibodies- Immunoglobulin IgA which acts as passive immunity to the baby and also ensure the digestive system to grow and is functioning well. Here i will summarized what is best about colostrum for your easy reference:
- First milk produced by the mammary glands in late pregnancy and the few days after postpartum.
- High in carbohydrate, protein and antibodies, but low in fat.
- Thick, sticky and yellowish. In very low concentrated volume. (it is really a precious gold! Super nutritious)
- It has milk laxative effect, help passing baby’s first stool, called meconium.
- It has large quantity of antibodies called secretory immunoglobulin IgA help protect baby mucous membrane in the throat, lung and intestines.
- It helps clear excess bilirubin, a waste product of dead read blood cells which is produced in large quantity at birth, from the baby’s body. Therefore, it helps to prevent jaundice.
- It contains high amount of immune cells which prevent baby’s from harmful diseases.
- Able to establish good healthy bacteria in baby’s digestive tract.
- In some studies show premature baby is more tolerable in human colostrum and breast milk than in formula milk. They tend to vomit more if fed by formula.
Breast milk contain protein made up of casein and whey in ratio about 30:70 or 20:80 depends on the stage of milk. Casein will become curds in the stomach and whey is a type of protein which will remain liquid. In breast milk, whey protein is higher that make breast milk easier to digest. Formula milk usually has higher casein protein compared to breast milk. Therefore, breast milk is easier to digest compared to formula milk.
There are other form of protein such as Lactoferrin, IgA, Lysozyme, alpha-lactalbumin which are important in building baby’s immune system and fighting diseases.
No. 3: Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs)
This is a unique sugar only exists in human milk. No formula milk can duplicate HMOs so far. It is the third biggest solid content in breast milk after lactose and fat. It is a prebiotic, a super food for intestinal bacteria to maintain healthy intestinal microbiome to prevent viral and bacteria infection.
Fat is the primary calorie source for the baby. Breast milk can be divided into colostrum, fore milk and hind milk. Colostrum contains mainly protein and antibodies. Colostrum is only produced in the first few days postpartum and gradually it will convert to thinner and watery milk (called fore milk) and thicker and creamier milk (known as hind milk). Usually, baby will get initial fore milk in the beginning of feeding and slowly getting hind milk in the end of the feeding.
Hind milk contain 2-3x higher concentration of fat than fore milk and babies will need to get more hind milk to thrive. It is important to empty breast while breastfeeding, usually milk is getting thicker, (fat contain is higher) when the milk is lesser in the breast.
Fat is essential for brain development and absorption of fat soluble vitamins. DHA (is one of the long chain fatty acid exists in breast milk) is known to contribute cognitive development of a child. However, DHA is very much depends on maternal diet. Therefore, nursing moms are advised to get adequate nutrition after child birth from various source of healthy food and supplements.
No. 5: Health protection for both baby and mother
Babies who are breastfed are unlikely to get ill for the first few months. Breast milk provides lots of bio active components to infants health and growth. Therefore, they are also less likely to develop diseases like gastroenteritis, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, urinary tract infections, eczema and ear infection.
In some studies, babies who are breastfed will have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and unlikely to develop type II diabetes in adulthood than those babies who are formula-fed.
Breastfeeding moms will have a bundle of joy to connect to their babies through breastfeeding. Nursing moms also will get plenty of health protection throughout breastfeeding journey. Here are some examples,
- You will recover better from childbirth, your uterus will return to its original size quicker and reduce postpartum bleeding
- You will return to your original body weight faster.
- The risk of getting ovarian cancer and breast cancer will be reduced according to some studies.
- You will unlikely to develop type II diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- You will be free from menses for the first few months after childbirth.
Look at all the benefits you will get if you breastfeed your child. It is a win-win situation. We shall respect all the nursing moms for their hard work and dedication. Thank you MOMS!!
Why breast milk is the best? I am sure you know the answer well after reading this article. For those moms who are still breastfeeding, enjoy your bonding time with your child. I am glad that i am able to do it until now (baby is 3 years old now) and keep moving.
I hope you will find this article useful, please share it with your friends and relatives. Let me know your experience as a nursing mom in the comment box below and i would love to hear from you.
I also have written an article about “Spectra S1 breast pump reviews“. If you are looking for a breast pump, maybe this article can help you make your decision.