A baby is a precious gift by nature and a bundle of joy for the parents but this bundle of joy requires great care and nutrition for healthy growth and development. Often the new mothers are perplexed as to go for formula milks or nurse them their own feed .The formula milks claim to provide such nutrients to your baby whom helps in growth but do they have the living cells as that in the breast milk to provide protection against infections and diseases? We recommend breast milk as the best nourishment for the baby and breast milk ensures safety and survival of the baby.
World Health Organization Reports That
If new borns are fed breast milk after 1 hour of birth and continued to be breastfed for 2 years than nearly 800,000 children can be saved every year. We need to encourage and support women and counsel both women and families to maintain optimal breast feeding practices. The American Pregnancy Association describes the constituents of breast milk which help a baby to fight against diseases and infections.
Breast Milk And Protein
The breast milk contains two types of proteins: whey and casein. Whey is 60% and casein is 40%.Whey helps the baby indigestion. If casein content is more in formula, it will become difficult for the baby to digest the milk. These proteins have infection-protecting properties.
Types Of Protein Found in Breast Milk
The proteins in breast milk are more easily digested than in formula or cow’s milk. Listed below are specific proteins that are found in breast milk.
This protein inhibits iron-dependent bacteria in the gut. The coli form and yeast are dependent on iron for their growth. Coli form is present in human intestines and feces. Its presence in food indicates serious contamination and yeast causes diaper rash. Having this protein in breast milk prevents the growth of such micro-organisms in the neonates and infants.
The immunoglobulin is actually antibody that is a critical part of the immune system. It aid in the destruction of any antigens, be it a bacteria or a virus in the humans and animals. The presence of this immunoglobulin protects the infants against Escherichia coli infections. E. coli can cause serious infections in humans. Other immunoglobulins such as IgG and IgM are also present in breast milk which help in warding off other bacterial and viral infections. The formula diets lack these immunoglobulins. These are only passed from mother to infants through breast milk. If a bacterial or viral infection is spread in an area, and the mother has antibodies against those bacteria and viruses, the mother’s antibodies will protect the baby against those infections through breastfeeding.
This is an enzyme that not only protects against E. coli but also against Salmonella poisoning. Salmonella poisoning may sometimes prove to be fatal in infants and they are at high risk with this bacteria. The enzymes cannot be made synthetically and are temperature sensitive proteins. The breast milk at body temperature of 37 degree Celsius maintains this enzyme. The formula diet lacks this enzyme.
It supports the growth of Lactobacillus. Lactobacillus is a pro-biotic which reduces the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut and maintains a healthy digestive system. Lactobacillus creates an acidic environment and inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.
Breast Milk Fats
Fats are essential for the infants as it helps in the brain development. Long chain fatty acids are required for retina and nervous system development. These fats also aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. They are deposited in the last trimester of pregnancy in the baby’s brain and are also present in the breast milk. So even after the birth, the brain is developing in the neonates and these fats aid in the brain development. These fats are also the primary source of calories for the baby.
The major carbohydrate of milk is lactose. 40% of the calories are provided by this sugar. It helps in the absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. lt decreases the number of unhealthy bacteria in the stomach and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria. Like other constituents, it also helps in fight against diseases and infections.
What Are The Vitamins In Breast Milk
The fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K are essential for the brain development along with water soluble vitamins B and C. There are several different types of vitamin B and all are essential for healthy body and mind. The amount and type of vitamins in breast milk depends on the mother’s intake of vitamins. the lactation consultants therefore, recommend that mothers should continue the intake of prenatal vitamins during lactation period.
Additional Benefits Of Breast Milk
Other than the numerous nutrients a baby gains from breast milk he/she also has
- less chances of diarrhea or vomiting due to inability to digest formula diet
- less chances of constipation
- fewer chances of chest and ear infections
- less likelihood of becoming obese and developing type 2 diabetes in later years of life
- less chances of developing eczema
It’s commonly observed that children who are solely fed on mother’s milk have lean bodies and more active that formula fed obese children. Also, the breast milk adapts its nutrients according to baby’s demand.
Benefits For Mother
Breast feeding is not only healthy for infants but also for mothers. The key benefits a mother can avail by breast feeding her baby are.
-less chances of ovarian and Breast Cancer
-helps in reducing weight
-helps uterus to come to its Pre-regnancy size
-helps save time in sterilization of feeding equipment
-builds a stronger and affectionate bond between mother and the baby
The WHO recommends that babies should exclusively be fed breast milk for first six months of life and even after starting solids the babies should not be weaned off. Breast milk is the most. Colostrum, yellowish, sticky breast milk produced at the end of pregnancy is the perfect milk for the baby. Moreover, the latest research has proved that growth and hormonal profiles differ in breast fed and formula diet children and this is because of the protein content of the breast milk that contains Immunoglobulin and Enzymes which cannot be added in formula diet.
Hence, babies fed on mother’s milk in first two years of their lives have high immunity, better growth, more intelligent and more psychologically strong than other babies who have been deprived of this opportunity. Never deny your baby his birth right!