Do you know what’s in your breast milk?
We all know that a mother’s breast milk has essential nutrients such as fats and proteins that are necessary for a baby’s growth, but is that all?
Besides nutrients, breast milk has other non-nutritional components like enzymes and hormones in it. It can also change its components depending on your baby’s needs. For example, if your baby is sick, your body will make extra antibodies in your milk to fight off the infection.
What’s your breast milk made of?
Breast milk is a living fluid. It is always changing based on your baby’s age and needs. Your breast milk generally has these constituents present:
- millions of live cells including white blood cells and stem cells
- more than a thousand proteins for growth and development
- amino acids or nucleotides which is believed to induce sleep
- over 200 oligosaccharides that prevent infection and inflammation
- enzymes that speed up the chemical reactions in the body
- hormones that ensure your body receives the right chemical messages
- antibodies or immunoglobulins that fights off bacterias and viruses
- microRNAs that regulates gene expression and supports the immune system
At different ages, your breast milk experience changes such as the consistency of your milk and the fluctuation of certain components. There are three types of breast milk that mothers will produce: colostrum, transitional milk and mature milk.
The earliest type of milk produced by a mother is colostrum. It’s thick and yellow, thus called ‘liquid gold.’ It is high in antibodies and white blood cells to protect your baby from diseases after leaving your womb. Colostrum also coats and seals your baby’s guts, protecting the digestive system.
Colostrum changes into transitional milk from day five to 14. It becomes creamier in texture and colour and increases in volume. Similar to colostrum, it is full of antibodies, live cells, and other bioactive ingredients.
By four weeks, your breast milk is fully mature. It is rich in sugar, vitamins, minerals, hormones, enzymes and many other components. The content in the mature milk will generally remain consistent from then on.
Breast milk is the best you can get for your baby as no formula milk can replicate the benefits of breast milk. It is also cheaper and environmentally-friendly.
If you are an expecting mother, prepare your body to breastfeed by having a balanced diet. Learn more by visiting https://abbottnutrition.com.my/pregnant-mom/eating-for-two.