The 7 wonders of breast milk
Your breast milk is totally unique to youIt's composition is determined by factors including your diet, hormones, genetics, enviromental influences, and the needs of you and your baby.
Your breast milk can help your baby sleepAs your hormone levels change throughout the day, so do the levels in your breast milk. This means, for example, that in the evening your milk will pass on sleep inducing hormones to your baby.
Breastfeeding makes your ‘love hormones’ rise
The skin-to-skin contact of breastfeeding is thought to help with bonding, but scientists have also discovered that your oxytocin levels go up while you breastfeed. This is thought to help increase your feelings of love towards your child5.
Prolonged breastfeeding helps reduce the lifelong risk of heart disease
Breast milk can help your baby become a lifelong healthy eater
Your diet can directly influence the composition of your breast milk10-13. And the foods you eat while breastfeeding could influence the tastes your baby enjoys throughout weaning and beyond14,15.
Breast milk is different for sons and daughters
Did you know that boys consume more of their mother’s milk than girls16,17? And amazingly, the breast milk produced for boys contains 25% more calories than for girls18,19.Learn more about breast milk composition.
Breast milk produced for boys contains 25% more calories
We still don't know how milk becomes naturally tailored to each baby's needs20. In fact, we're only just beginning to understand the subtleties and complexities of breast milk. There's much more research needed, but there is no doubt that breast milk is wonderful.
Worried about breastfeeding?
It's completely normal to find breastfeeding a little tricky at first, but our breastfeeding guide is full of tips and advice to help you succeed.
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18. Thakkar SK et al. Dynamics of human milk nutrient composition of women from Singapore with a special focus on lipids. Am J Hum Biol 2013;25:770-9.
19. Powe CE et al. Infant sex predicts breast milk energy content. Am J Hum Biol 2010;22(1):50-4.
20. Hassiotou F et al. Maternal and infant infections stimulate a rapid leukocyte response in breast milk. Clin Trans Immunol 2013;2:e3.