Breast milk is considered a complete food and a baby doesn’t need anything more for the first six months of its life. Breast milk provides all the required nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water to the infant.
Composition of Breast Milk
The composition of breast milk is not constant. It varies depending on various conditions such as the age of the child, the age of the mother and the mother’s diet and health. 90% of breast milk is nothing but water. This keeps the baby hydrated, helps in maintaining its body temperature, lubricates its joints and protects its developing organs.
The composition of breast milk also varies according to the age of the baby. The first milk that comes out soon after the baby is born is known as colostrum. It is yellowish and thick. It contains protein and minimum lactose. The second stage is called the transitional stage and the final stage is the mature milk. The composition of milk also varies while feeding. The first milk that comes out is known as the foremilk and it is mainly to quench the thirst. The milk that comes out later is known as the hindmilk. It is creamy in texture and contains good fat, calories and lactose. The pefectfood for the baby.
Breast milk is a good source of probiotics that contains good bacteria to heal the gut health. It is full of protective antibodies, live cells, ‘good’ bacteria and other bioactive ingredients to help keep her health).
When the baby turns four weeks, your breast milk becomes fully mature. This milk is rich in protein, sugar, vitamins and minerals. It also contains numerous bioactive components like hormones, growth factors, enzymes and live cells. These contribute to the healthy development and growth of your baby.
Every 100 ml of Breast Milk Contains
- 3 gm protein
- 2 gm fat
- 7gm carbohydrate
- 15 mg sodium
- 35 mg calcium
- 15 mg phosphorous
- 76 mg iron
- 60 mg vitamin A
- 8 mg vitamin C
- 01 mg vitamin D
- 5 mg magnesium
Apart from this breast milk also contains millions of live cells—more than 1000 protein, amino acids, more than 200 complex sugars known as oligosaccharides, 40 enzymes, hormones, antibodies, fatty acids, and 1400 micro RNA. It also contains bacteria that help the baby to grow intestinal microbiota.
Benefits of Breast Milk
The complex compositions of breast milk help the baby develop immunity.
- The millions of live cells help the baby develop immune-boosting blood cells and stem cells that help the organs to develop and heal.
- The proteins help the baby protect neurons in his/her brain.
- The amino acids present in breast milk are known as nucleotides and they help induce sleep.
- The oligosaccharides are prebiotics that feeds the good bacteria in the baby’s gut. They prevent infections from entering the baby’s bloodstream and protect the infant from brain inflammation.
- The enzymes act as catalysts to speed up chemical reactions in the body. The enzymes also help in digestion and absorbing iron in the body.
- Breast milk also helps in the growth of organs, blood vessels, tissues, nervous system, and glands.
- The hormones help in controlling the baby’s appetite and sleep. It also plays an important role in creating a bond between you and your baby.
- Vitamins and minerals help in building the baby’s bones and teeth.
- The antibodies or immunoglobulins protect the baby against illnesses and diseases. They neutralise bacteria and viruses.
- The fatty acids help build the baby’s brain and eye. It also develops the nervous system.
- The micro RNA supports the immune system and prevents diseases from attacking the infant.
Breastmilk Contains Ingredients That Reduces The Chances Of The Following Diseases
- Breastfeeding reduces the chances of conditions like asthma and allergies
- Breastfeeding considerably reduces the chances of ear infections
- Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from respiratory illnesses, compared to bottle-fed babies
- Breastfeeding reduces the chances of suffering from diarhheoa
- Breastfed babies usually don’t gain excess weight and develop healthily
Breastfeeding is a natural way to provide nutrition to your child. Breastmilk is formed in a way that not only gives complete nutrition to your baby but also protects her from numerous diseases, infections and inflammations. Breastmilk contributes in the formation of a healthy immune system and healthy gut microbiome.
Author Bio: Prapti Chauhan is a professor of Genetics in Bangalore. She has contributed to several online research papers. However, she passionately develops contents on pregnancy, childbirth, childcare and benefits of cord blood banking and umbilical cord lining and more.