What's so unique about breast milk?
Learn why breastmilk is the original superfood
Your breast milk is totally unique to you. Its composition is determined by a mixture of factors, including your diet, hormones, genetics and environmental influences. Amazingly, it also changes with your baby’s individual needs.
Tailor-made for your baby
It is not yet known exactly how breast milk is innately tailored to you and your baby. That’s why we’re committed to continuous breast milk research into this natural marvel. However, we do know that the fat content of breast milk increases during each feed. It also changes to reflect environmental factors, so it contains more water if the weather is hot.
Baby boys consume more of their mother’s milk than girls. And surprisingly, the breast milk produced for boys contains 25% more calories than for girls
Breast milk composition
Research has shown that 87.5% of breast milk is made up of water. The rest contains different components, including various carbohydrates, fats, proteins and minerals. During a feed, breast milk changes colour and becomes thicker as the amount of energy it contains gradually increases.
‘Foremilk’ – the first milk of a breastfeeding session is packed with all the carbohydrates, protein and vitamins a developing baby needs. As a result of its high water composition, it also protects exclusively breastfed babies from dehydration.
The ‘hindmilk’ produced towards the end of a breastfeeding session looks thicker and is darker in colour. This is because its energy and fat content increases as the feed goes on, allowing babies to take on enough energy to go longer between feeds.
Providing protection from birth
Breastmilk does more than provide complete nutrition, it is filled with germ-fighting antibodies. Your gut bacteria is transferred to your baby’s gut through breast milk.
Worried about breastfeeding?
It’s completely normal to find breastfeeding a little tricky at first, but our breastfeeding guide is full of tips and advice to help you succeed..
Discover more about the miracle of breast milk
Learn more about the positive effects of breast milk for your baby’s health and development in the following articles.
Breast milk and breastfeeding
Questions about feeding and nutrition?
Our midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.