Babies And Food – Why Breastfeed
A mother’s milk is the natural nourishment for her newborn baby. Even if the baby is bottle-fed later on, there are great advantages in breastfeeding for the first few days and, if possible, for the first four months. Colostrum, the relatively clear, thin pre-milk secreted just after a mother gives birth, is rich in antibodies which increase a baby’s immunity to disease. The mother’s breasts then produce thicker mature milk which can supply the baby’s complete nutritional needs for up to six months and further boost resistance to infection. Breast milk is compose of fine digestible globules and contains all the proteins, vitamins and minerals that babies require. It also provides essential polyunsaturated fatty acids which are important components of the human brain and nervous system. While formula milks can largely replicate these nutrients, natural breast milk does have a unique built-in meal format. As the baby starts suckling, the milk is high in water and protein but as suckling continues, the balance alters: protein and water decrease, and fat content increases. So first the baby’s thirst is quenched and then the appetite is satisfied. For those who can and wish to breastfeed, breast milk is a free, portable and hygienic baby food. There is no need for special equipment or to mix and warm feeds in the middle of the night. Medical evidence also suggests that women who have breast-fed have a slightly lower chance of developing breast cancer, especially if they are under 30 years old.