Why breast milk is best
Breast milk is the only food designed especially for your baby and contains all the nutrition they need for the first six months of life. It’s a complex substance which has been researched for many years. And while it’s known to contain the perfect combination of carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, minerals and other substances needed for your baby's healthy development, there’s still much more to be learned about breast milk.
What is certain is that breast milk is full of antibodies that help boost your baby’s ability to fight off the infections that you’ve had in the past. Breast milk is also unique to each mum with a nutritional content completely tailored to their baby.
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, which may be quite frequent. 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 continue to breastfeed, your breast milk will still contain antibodies. And as you come into contact with new infections, your breast milk will contain new antibodies which will automatically give your baby some immunity. What’s also incredible is that your breast milk will vary in taste according to what you’ve eaten – which in turn means your baby may be more likely to accept a wider range of tastes when it comes to weaning3.
What’s in breast milk?
Breast milk is naturally made up of the proteins whey and casein, carbohydrate in the form of lactose, fats including LCPs, vitamins and minerals. Through extensive research into breast milk, we’ve learnt a lot about the functional benefits of key components such as LCPs, nucleotides and oligosaccharides, which all play an important part in the first few months of your baby's life, contributing to their general wellbeing and healthy development.
Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, or LCPs, are important for the development of your baby’s brain. Research has shown that two particularly important LCPs – AA and DHA – are found in breast milk1. There’s also evidence that consuming more LCPs during pregnancy and while you’re breastfeeding can be beneficial for your baby’s development, encouraging better visual and brain development and movement skills2.