Facts On Human Breast Milk!!!

            In celebration of the World's Breastfeeding Week (1-7th August), I put up some interesting and informative post to help lactating mothers, waiting moms and intending mothers-to-be be better informed on various issues surrounding human-milk/ breast-feeding.

Topics will revolve around:
a) facts about human breast milk during lactation.
b) 3 phase production of human milk
c) Benefits of Breastfeeding to Child & Mother
d) Galactagogues (remedies that increase milk production in humans)
e) common question that hinder breastfeeding and helpful answers.

Setting the ball rolling, we will begin by treating topics 1& 2 in this current post. Please do well to subscribe to read up on other topics as well...

Remember, Human milk is recommended as the optimal nutrition not only for full-term infants but also for pre-term infants. The World Health Organization recommend that new-born be exclusively breastfed for 6-months and continued up to 2-years of age in addition to complementary meals.

-Mean protein content of human milk gradually decreases from 2nd to 7th month of lactation and stabilizes after. This is reason why nutritious complementary meals is introduced to the child after 6-months of exclusive breastfeeding to support his/ her rapid growing needs.

-Lactose is high between 4th and 7th month of lactation and decreases afterwards.

Fat content increases throughout lactation (does this ring a bell why breastfed babies seem to look overweight/ obese?? smiles) but carbohydrate and protein fraction are not affected.

-Overweight women have higher amount of saturated fatty acids & n-6 to n-3 Fatty acids ration compared to women of normal weight.

- During each breastfeeding, the first milk is called Fore milk (it is liquid and light in consistency) and contains more of the carbs and sugar while the Hind milk (thicker) which flows 15 minutes into feeding the child, contains the fat and provides satiety to the child.

-Minimum of 25-minutes is required to feed a infant using one breast at a time.

-When breastfeeding, one breast should be completely emptied before feeding the infant on the other breast.

-Human Milk is rich in microRNAs which regulate gene expression. 

- Human milk is also rich in hormones that modulate metabolism & body composition such as insulin, leptin, adiponectin, ghrelin which prevent early onset of obesity & metabolic syndrome later in life.

-   -Human-milk is rich in nitrate and nitrite which help to support the gastrointestinal and immune balance in a neonate.
  • COLOSTRUM: This the first milk produced (1-3-days) after child birth and very essential to a newborn. It is thick and yellow/ orange in color. It has high concentration of whey protein, low in lactose and fat content compared to mature milk. It has high concentration of oligasaccharides, bioactive compounds, antibodies including immunoglobulin (IgA), lactoferrin and leukocytes. This milk is important because of protective function on the baby's immune system. Colostrum acts as an growth promoter due to its high concentration of TGF-B (growth factor) and colony stimulating factor.
  • TRANSITIONAL MILK: This is produced (3-7days) after the colostrum.
  • MATURE MILK: This is produced (> &days) after child birth.

Hope you enjoyed reading this? please share with a friend and check out my next post on Benefits of Breastfeeding to Child and Mother (see link https://www.nutrientdoctor.com/2018/08/benefits-of-exclusive-breast-feeding-to.html). 

Please leave your comments and share your thoughts.............

  • Fabio M, Maria LG. Human Milk: Composition and Health benefits. Medical and Surgical Pediatrics 2017; 39: 15