Breast Milk is Still the Best First Food for your Baby

The best care that mothers can provide their young child with is the natural milk that she naturally begins to produce while pregnant. This natural milk is highly beneficial for the growth of the young ones in the early months and even years and is undoubtedly the best dairy product as far as its nutritional value is concerned.

Milk production in women is related to the breast tissues which basically consist of fatty and connective tissues. These tissues enclose the milk producing areas or glands of the breast which are called alveoli and are present in small groups. After milk production, final product travels from these clusters to the nipples through fine ducts. Many complex hormonal changes are involved in the milk production process going on in females. A good amount of care is needed while these processes are going on, so that milk is produced with its full nutritional value and no problems occur, either to the mother or the baby.

Hormones involved in Milk Production

Milk production is one of the processes that come after pregnancy is confirmed. Actually pregnancy causes the milk glands in the breasts to activate which then start producing milk from the very first trimester of pregnancy. At the time of childbirth, the main female hormones called estrogen and progesterone decrease which not only cause the uterine wall to contract but also send signal to the brain to start producing a hormone called prolactin. This hormone immediately starts acting on the milk glands and starts the transportation of milk through the ducts to the nipples.

Different Stages of Milk Production

As the whole milk producing phenomenon is controlled by the delicate checks and balances of the human brain, so it takes time to give the final product. Breast milk passes through various stages before reaching its final form:

  • First stage is the Colostrum. It is the early milk having yellowish color and has a thicker consistency. This stage is usually present during the second trimester. It is also present after the childbirth up to about 3 days but in a relatively smaller amount just to meet the needs of the very small stomach of the baby.
  • The next stage is mature milk. It is the proper milk and is present in greater amount. This stage commences usually when the first 3 days after the childbirth. The commencement can be delayed if mother feeds the child less frequently. For normal secretion, it is therefore, advised that a baby is feed about 8 to 12 times a day.
  • The first time a child is fed by the lactating mother, milk has a watery consistency during the first few minutes and is called foremilk. As it has more water, it easily satisfies the baby’s thirst. When nursing continues for several minutes, hindmilk will start to flow. This is the product that is responsible for satisfying a baby’s hunger as it has greater amount of fat and a creamy texture.

Nutritional values of breast milk and milk formulas

Although the breast milk is the most beneficial first food that the newborn takes in, new advanced shortcuts, lack of sufficient time as well as alternative parenting options, people are frequently using the powdered milk formulas to feed their babies. The baby food formula industry will of course continue to advertise to inform you about the advantages of milk formulas. The breast milk has many good effects on your baby that the formulas cannot produce. Breast milk is naturally designed such that the baby feels hungry frequently. This allows your baby to have more nutrition and gain a healthy weight. Breast milk has numerous noble ingredients that you cannot even imagine finding in manufactured formulas. The main differences between these two types of milk are:

  • Breast milk, especially the colostrum, is known to be rich in antibodies which pass from mother to baby. These protective entities are the key to strengthening the immune system of the baby and further protecting them from bacterial attacks or illnesses. These antibodies also help the child to excrete the first faeces (or feces) easily without any constipation issues. Processed milk formulas cannot offer you this advantage.
  •  Both the breast milk and the milk formulas contain a lot of good proteins. Generally more proteins are present in the formulas as compared to the breast milk. But the proteins found in breast milk are far more easily digested by the young stomach as compared to the complex proteins found in the formulas.
  • Breast milk is found to have higher carbohydrate content, specifically because of the lactose sugar present in this case. This sugar is very effective in promoting a better and faster brain development in the child.
  • Although more minerals are added to the formulas as compared to the breast milk, the minerals of breast milk are more easily absorbed by the babies.

Side Effects of Milk Formulas

The powdered milk formulas are being improved through advanced researches and addition of better nutrients. Still there are side effects that make these formulas not as good a choice for the young ones. The babies feeding on these formulas from day one are vulnerable to many infections as they don’t possess the antibodies to protect their bodies against these infections.

The minerals contained in these formulas are not completely degraded by the young bodies and therefore, these undigested minerals cause stool problems by changing the bacterial balance in the infant’s gut. Harmful bacteria find their way through the body and can cause other complications for your child.

To avoid all these situations, breast milk is the best option that can serve your baby well. It is advisable to consider breast milk for your new baby to give them all the necessary nutrients to develop in every possible sense as they begin their new lives.

Liya Das

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