Breast milk is the most nutritionally-perfect food for babies.
When was the last time you had a well-balanced meal that was easy on the stomach, exactly the right temperature not to mention packed with the equivalent of the best antibiotic to thwart any potential cold or flu coming on? On top of it, the meal was essentially free?
Breast milk does that for babies with every feeding. What are some interesting facts you may not know about the ingredients in breast milk – nature’s nutritionally-perfect food?
Nutrients Found in Breast milk
Ingredient Number One – Fat
Did you know that the biggest source of calories in breast milk comes from fat? The enzyme in breast milk called lipase helps to break down the fat into smaller globules so that your baby can digest it more easily. The high fat content in breastmilk helps the baby to gain weight quickly and is not bad for babies like a high-fat diet might be for an adult. The higher cholesterol levels in breast milk may help protect against high cholesterol issues later in life.
Ingredient Number Two – Protein
There is a greater demand for protein in the newborn period than in any other stage of life. Human breast milk contains lactalbumin which digests more easily than the casein found in cow’s milk.
Ingredient Number Three – Vitamins
Breast milk contains all of the vitamins necessary for the baby’s diet. However, if your baby does not get enough sunlight, it is sometimes recommended that a Vitamin D supplement be added. It also takes a few days for the baby to begin to make its own Vitamin K which is why most babies receive a Vitamin K injection shortly after birth.
Ingredient Number Four – Carbohydrates
Just under 50% of the total calories your baby eats will come from carbs in breast milk. Lactose is the primary carbohydrate found in breast milk. The additional sugars in breast milk may help to protect your baby’s digestive tract with a higher acid content so that bacteria cannot thrive as well.
Ingredient Number Five – Minerals
Even though the iron levels are fairly low in breast milk, iron is absorbed 50% more efficiently than in commercial cow’s milk formula. Breastfed babies have a high reserve of iron from their life inside the uterus and the combination of Vitamin C and lactose in breast milk help babies digest iron better. The calcium-phosphorus ratio is 2 to 1 in breast milk – the perfect balance to grow healthy bones.
Ingredient Number Six – Fluids
Does my breastfed baby ever need additional fluid? No. Breast milk contains 87% water and feeding your baby additional water will only fill his belly and decrease his desire to nurse.
Ingredient Number Seven – Antibodies
The antibodies in breast milk protect the baby from illnesses. Find out more here.
Read on to find out how breastfeeding is healthy for moms!
What did you like best about breastfeeding your baby? Tell us more.