Your breast milk is unique to you and your baby. Its composition is determined by your diet, hormones, genetics and environmental influences.
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 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.
The first milk of a breastfeeding session, known as “foremilk”, is packed with all the carbohydrates, protein and vitamins a 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 the energy and fat content of breast milk increases as the feed goes on, allowing babies to take on enough energy to go longer between feeds.
Providing Protection From Birth
Breast milk provides more than complete nutrition. It is filled with germ-fighting antibodies.
Your gut bacteria is transferred to your baby’s gut through breast milk. However, just how this works is yet to be discovered.