With complex carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and antibodies, your breast milk contains the perfect combination of nutrients for your baby.
Why Breast Milk is Best
Breast milk is the only food designed especially for your baby. It contains all the nutrition they need for the first 6 months of life. Breast milk:
- is a complex substance, which has been researched for many years
- contains the perfect combination of carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, minerals and other substances needed for your baby’s healthy development
- is full of antibodies to help fight infections
- is unique to each mum, and has a nutritional content completely tailored to her baby
Breast milk contains all the nutrition they need for the first 6 months
Breast Milk and Immunity
Colostrum, the yellowish-coloured milk your body produces after giving birth, is full of germ-fighting antibodies. It’s extremely concentrated, so your baby only needs a small amount at each feed.
These calorie-rich first feeds coat the lining of your baby’s gut to help protect them from germs and reduce the risk of developing allergies at a later date.
As you come into contact with new infections, your breast milk will contain new antibodies that will in turn give your baby some immunity.
What’s in Breast Milk?
Breast milk is naturally made up of:
- proteins whey and casein
- carbohydrate in the form of lactose
- fats including long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPs)
- vitamins and minerals
Key components of breast milk such as LCPs, nucleotides and oligosaccharides all play an important part in the first few months of your baby’s life, contributing to their general well-being and healthy development.
LCPs are important for the development of your baby’s brain. Two particularly important LCPs — AA and DHA — are found in breast milk. Consuming more LCPs during pregnancy and while you’re breastfeeding can be beneficial for your baby’s movement, visual and brain development.
The main ways to include LCPs in your diet are by eating fatty fish, eggs and meat. Fatty fish like mackerel, sardines, tuna and salmon are rich sources of both AA and DHA.
LCPs can also be made, in small amounts, by the body from essential fatty acids found in leafy greens, nuts, vegetable oil and seeds.
Your breast milk contains an enormous amount of antibodies that help to support your baby’s immune system.
Varying Fat Content
The amount of fat in breast milk varies during each individual feed, as well as from feed to feed during the day. This variation in fat can be detected through the consistency and appearance of your breast milk.
Breast milk is rich in nucleotides. Research has shown that nucleotides support the activity of certain cells within the immune system. This can help protect the body against infection.
The oligosaccharides found in breast milk help to maintain your baby’s healthy gut flora by increasing the levels of friendly bacteria and decreasing the levels of potentially harmful bacteria. The oligosaccharides found in your breast milk support your baby’s digestion and immune system.