Breast milk, also known as mother's milk, is a type of milk produced by mammary glands in a woman's breast. Breast milk, which contains fat, protein, carbohydrates (lactose and human milk oligosaccharides), and a variety of minerals and vitamins, is the primary source of nutrition for newborns.
Breast milk also contains important factors that protect the infant from infection and inflammation, as well as contribute to the immune system and gut microbiome's healthy development.
Composition of Breast milk
The water content of human breast milk is approximately 90%. Water hydrates you, regulates your body temperature, lubricates your joints, and safeguards your organs. Breast milk, fortunately, provides all of the water that young babies require to survive.
Carbohydrates are the brain's preferred energy source.
Lactose, or milk sugar, is the most common carbohydrate found in breast milk. compared to cow's milk, human milk contains more lactose content.
Other carbohydrates found in breast milk, such as oligosaccharides, help your baby's intestines to grow healthy bacteria.
These bacteria protect your baby's gut and can aid in the prevention of illnesses such as infant diarrhea.
Lipids make up only about 4% of breast milk, but they provide more than half of the calories consumed by your baby. Energy, cholesterol, and essential fatty acids like DHA are all found in lipids. These nutrients are essential for your baby's brain, nervous system, and vision development. For the first six months of life, breast milk should naturally contain all of the lipids your baby requires to grow.
Proteins help the body's tissues to grow, strengthen, and repair themselves. Hormones, enzymes, and antibodies are all made with them. Breast milk protein is easy to digest for babies, and these proteins are necessary for humans to survive at all stages of their lives.
Lactoferrin is a type of protein found in breast milk that helps your baby's body transport iron. It also aids in the prevention of infections in your newborn's intestines.
Breast milk contains several nutrients that are not found in formula. These one-of-a-kind substances are passed down from mother to child.
Immunoglobulins are proteins that help the body fight infection (Antibodies). Immunoglobulins are antibodies that help the body fight disease and illness. Breast milk can almost be thought of as a baby's first vaccine because of these natural immune substances. Anti-infective properties found in breast milk help protect against common colds, ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea, and other potentially dangerous infections. The primary antibody found in breast milk is immunoglobulin A. (IgA). IgA coats and seals the lungs and intestines of the baby, keeping germs out of the body and bloodstream.
Hormones play numerous roles in the human body. Growth and development, metabolism, stress and pain responses, and blood pressure regulation are all influenced by them. Hormones like prolactin, thyroid hormones, and growth factors are all involved in milk production.
Human breast milk contains several important enzymes. Some aid digestion by breaking down fats and proteins, while others aid in immune function. The functions of many enzymes found in human breast milk are unknown.
Breast milk contains all of the vitamins and minerals that young babies require. Many of these important micronutrients are also found in infant formulas.
Vitamins help to maintain the health of your bones, eyes, and skin. They are required to prevent malnutrition-related diseases such as scurvy and rickets. Breast milk usually contains all of the vitamins your baby needs to thrive as they grow.
Breast milk, like vitamins, contains minerals that your baby's body requires to grow healthy and strong. Iron, zinc, calcium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, and selenium are among them. Minerals are necessary for the formation of strong bones, the production of red blood cells, and the proper function of muscles and nerves.
Types of Breast milk
The first milk your ******* produce after your baby is born is called colostrum. Not only because of its yellow or orangey color but also because it is essential for nourishing and protecting your newborn, this thick, sticky breast milk is often referred to as 'liquid gold.'
This thick, sticky breast milk is often referred to as 'liquid gold,' not only because of its yellow or orangey color but also because it is essential for nourishing and protecting your newborn. Colostrum is also a very simple substance to digest.
Colostrum contains the same ingredients as later milk; the amounts of these ingredients are just different because it's tailored to your newborn's needs.
Because of its high levels of antibodies and white blood cells, colostrum is sometimes referred to as a natural vaccination. These must be present in your first milk for it to protect your baby from infections and diseases once she has left the safety of your womb.
The protective qualities of colostrum are also beneficial to your baby's digestive system. Colostrum coats and seals the permeable gut lining that babies are born with. If your baby is premature, this is especially important because she will be more susceptible to the dangerous gut condition necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
It's also high in minerals and vitamins, with vitamin A, E, and K concentrations that are higher than mature breast milk. Colostrum has a higher protein content as well. Colostrum also acts as a laxative, assisting your baby in passing her first bowel movement, meconium.
Transitional milk: next few weeks
Breast milk changes in quantity during the first week of your baby's life, around two to four days after delivery. You may notice a change in your *******, such as fullness and firmness, which is known as milk coming in.' Your baby will consume 300 to 400 ml (10.5 to 14 fl oz) of breast milk per 24 hours on the third day, and 500 to 800 ml (18 to 28 fl oz) on the fifth day, so don't be surprised if your ******* feel bigger!
Transitional milk is the milk you produce between days 5 and 14. It's transitioning from colostrum to mature milk, as the name implies. It gets creamier in color and texture, as well as higher in fat, calories, and lactose (a natural sugar), making it the perfect food for your rapidly growing newborn.
Mature milk: After four weeks
When your baby is four weeks old, his or her breast milk will be fully mature. It's high in protein, sugar, vitamins, and minerals, as well as hormones, growth factors, enzymes, and live cells, all of which help your baby grow and develop normally.
The nutritional content and levels of ingredients in mature milk are generally consistent after four weeks. Your breast milk's composition, however, can vary from day to day and feed to feed.