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Breast milk is really nothing short of a miracle. If you choose to breastfeed, you’re giving your baby essential vitamins, immunities, and other benefits through food made by mom! Somehow, your body knows how to make the most perfect food for your little one to help her grow, develop, and thrive. But even though you’re the one producing the milk, you might not be aware of all the benefits it provides to your growing baby.
What nutrients are in colostrum?
Some people call colostrum “liquid gold,” and for good reason. Colostrum is the milk you produce in the first few days after delivery, and it’s a slightly different color and texture than mature milk, which comes later. It’s also different from mature breast milk nutrient-wise because your baby has different needs in her first days of life.
For example, colostrum contains special immune cells and antibodies that protect your baby as she is meeting the world. It also has more protein than mature milk, less fat, and special antibacterial and antiviral properties.
How are breast milk nutrients unique?
Breast milk has a nutrient makeup of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins that constantly change to support your baby’s growth and development. Proteins help build cells, fats help develop the brain and nervous system, and carbohydrates provide energy. There’s also an alphabet soup of different vitamins in your breast milk that play important roles in the health of your little one. While feeding with formula of course gives your baby the essential nutrients she needs, there are benefits that only breastfeeding can provide, such as:
- Antibodies: Through your breast milk, your little one will have direct access to your immune system and all of the disease-fighting antibodies you have.
- Specific adaptation: If you or your baby are exposed to a pathogen, your breast milk can adapt to that specific need and make antibodies directly in the breast that bind to harmful microbes in the digestive tract and prevent them from being absorbed into your baby’s body.
- Friendly bacteria: Not all bacteria are bad! Breast milk has some nice ones, like lactobacillus bifidus, that contribute to a healthy immune system and create an environment in your baby’s gut that doesn’t allow harmful bacteria to survive.
- Lower iron: There’s special protein in breast milk called lactoferrin that absorbs iron in a way that prevents certain unhelpful microorganisms from growing and multiplying in the stomach.
- Easier digestion: The protein in breast milk is easier for babies to digest than the protein in formula, and it can be fully digested in a shorter amount of time.
Breastfeeding provides many natural benefits to you and your little one, but it’s not always easy. That’s why our partners at Motherlove want to help you on your breastfeeding journey. Motherlove is a family-owned company that makes herbal care products with organic ingredients to help mothers with pregnancy, birth, baby, and breastfeeding.
By signing up for Motherlove’s newsletter, you can learn how to get the best start to breastfeeding, including things like making the most of “the golden hour,” tips for easing nipple pain, strategies for ensuring a healthy milk supply when you go back to work, and more. Tap the button below to sign up!
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