Have you ever wondered how breast milk meets all the nutritional needs of a newborn child? Why does the World Health Organizations strictly prohibit feeding external foods? These questions often puzzle parents.
People wish to feed external milk, liquid foods, and water. Health-care takers suggest these foods can harm the child. Why breast milk is a perfect food for the child’s growth and not the regular meal?
This post is going to reveal the composition of breast milk. You will learn how breast milk nourishes a newborn child. Here you will also learn why you should not feed anything else to the baby.
What Is the Composition of Breast Milk?
Breast milk is an ideal source of nutrition for every newborn child. All the health organizations across the globe recommend breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months of the child’s life. It is not only necessary for the better health of the child but also to ensure his rapid growth.
You can supplement breastfeeding with complimentary meals after 6 months. Let’ find out what breast milk is composed of:
Breast milk has higher lactose content than cow’s milk. It contains 6.5-7.0g/dl lactose content and that’s higher than 4.5-5.0g/dl offered by cow’s milk. That’s what provides energy to the babies. Lactose is also essential for the proper brain development of the child. Breast milk supplies beta lactose, which ultimately slows down the Escherichia Coli growth.
Breast milk supplies a low quantity of protein, which is 1.1-1.3g/dl. Your child receives lactalbumin and casein proteins from breast milk along with inorganic phosphorus and amino acids.
Lactalbumin makes 2/3 of the total protein present in breast milk. It is mainly composed of α-lactalbumin, lysozyme, lactoferrin and albumin. These have higher nutritional values and are rich in amino acids. The baby needs these proteins and amino acids to stay fit and improve his digestive system.
Breast milk provides fat in the form of an emulsion. The quantity of healthy fats is much higher in human milk than in cow’s milk. It has a much lower amount of volatile fats than cow’s milk. The baby can easily digest and absorb this fat to stay fit and grow faster. Your baby receives a variety of digestive enzymes along with fat to boost his metabolism.
Breast milk provides the child with a rich supply of vitamin A, E, And C. It also provides a limited supply of vitamin B1, B2, B6, B12, K, along with folic acid. Therefore, the child does not need external foods to meet his vitamin needs.
Breast milk also provides the newborn child with essential minerals, including calcium and phosphorus. The mineral content in human milk is lower than the mineral content present in cow milk.
Breast milk also provides iron, zinc, and various other essential nutrients. The child can easily absorb nutrients received from the milk. It will be pretty daunting for him to do the same when he is on baby formula or cow milk diet!
What Else Does the Baby Gain From Breast Milk?
Breast milk is rich in many easily absorbable nutrients. A newborn child needs those nutrients for better health and better growth. What else the human milk provides to speed up the child’s growth? Let’s find out:
Humoral immune components
Children are born with a weak immune system. They do not need any supplement to boost their immunity if the mother breastfeeds them regularly. Breast milk provides various antibodies to the child. IgA is the main component in those antibodies.
These antibodies are distributed on the mucosal surface of the nasopharynx, pharynx, and gastrointestinal tract. They agglutinate pathogens and neutralize toxins to reduce the risks of inflammation.
Breast milk is also rich in lactoferrin, which fights bacteria that slow down the metabolism. Lactoferrin is also known for its antibacterial effects and it prevents intestinal infections in the child. Thus, breast milk provides enough protection to ensure the smooth growth of the child.
Cellular components of breast milk
A newborn child receives immunocompetent cells in huge numbers through breast milk. He gains neutrophils, macrophages, and lymphocytes through regular breastfeeding.
Other key factors
Breast milk has a higher and stable Bifidus factor content. It is essential for the growth of lactobacillus in the intestinal tract of your child. It also plays an important role in reducing the reproduction and growth of Shigella and Escherichia coli.
Breast milk supplies 300 times more lysozyme than cow’s milk. It effectively hydrolyzes the mucopolysaccharide on the bacterial cell membrane. It effectively dissolves and kills the bacteria. The baby also gains Complements C3 and C4 from colostrum, which easily eliminates bacteria responsible for binding certain antibodies.
Essentially, breast milk works as a medicinal food. It nourishes a newborn baby to keep him healthy, provides nutrients for rapid growth, and also fights health issues. Therefore, breastfeeding is more beneficial for the child than mixed feeding.
What Should You Do to Improve Breast Milk Quality?
Breastfeeding is a totally strange thing for new mothers. They do not know how often they should breastfeed or how much they should breastfeed. Prior knowledge about breastfeeding can be quite helpful in improving your nursing skills.
It is quite simple to improve breast milk quality and quantity. Include the following foods in your daily diet to maintain a rich supply of breast milk:
Foods to increase breast milk quantity
Peanut: Consume a handful of peanuts every day. These nuts improve milk quantity and also help you in spleen deficiency, edema, nausea, and vaginal discharge. It acts as a superfood when it comes to fighting a dry cough, hemorrhages, chronic cough, etc.
Luffa: This tropical vine is used as a medicinal material in China for a long time. Along with other health benefits, it is also known for boosting lactation. Regular intake of luffa can help you in secreting more milk to soothe the child’s hunger.
Tofu: Tofu is another healthy food to try when you are a nursing mom. It keeps the skin well-moisturized, eliminates toxins, and improves milk quality.
Soups: A nursing mother can consume a wide range of soups to boost lactation. Fish soup, chicken soup, vegetable soup, and mixed soups are great to increase milk quantity. Consume at least one bowl of soup every day. It will improve your health and you will produce more milk to nourish the newborn child.
Foods you should avoid to maintain milk quality
Don’t consume caffeinated and spicy foods
Caffeinated and spicy foods improve the acidity of breast milk. The child consumes milk and suffers from diarrhea and other health problems. Mothers should strictly avoid caffeinated drinks and spicy meals to keep the child healthy.
Excess intake of sugary foods
Do not consume chips, potatoes, and sugary food excessively. These foods lack the nutrients you need to improve milk quality. Get a well-balanced diet to improve nutrients in breast milk for the child.
Marinated meats and fish
Marinated foods can be excessively salty. A healthy person should consume only 4.5-9 grams of salt each day. Nursing mothers should reduce the consumption of marinated meats because these foods can affect milk quality. You may experience increased blood pressure and kidney issues if you don’t follow this advice.
Breast milk is naturally composed in a way that a newborn baby can easily consume and digest. The child needs it since the first day to fight infections, improve his digestive system, and stay full. Therefore, you should never deprive the baby of colostrum, traditional milk, and mature milk.
There is no need to supplement breastfeeding until you can provide enough to feed the baby multiple times. Feed water, complimentary meals, and formula only when the baby is 6 months old.