Super food: Breast milk
Breast milk contains many antibodies and other important ingredients to protect your baby from diseases. In the first few days of life, your breast milk contains large numbers of antibodies that line your baby’s gut and protect it from infections, stabilise blood sugar and much more – this substance is called colostrum. It is a yellow, thick and easily digested milk.
As your baby grows, your breast milk adapts to the changing needs of your baby by constantly adjusting its composition. The composition depends on the age of the baby, the time of day and the particular meal. It can even change during a breast feed: At the start, the milk is rather watery and quenches your baby’s thirst. Then it changes to contain considerably more fat and is white to cream colour to satisfy your baby’s hunger.
Breast milk contains all the carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and trace elements that your baby needs for optimal growth.
Breastfeeding has many advantages – for baby and mother
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of babies getting middle ear infections, infections of the airways or gut, or diabetes. If a baby is only breastfed in the first 6 months, the risk of getting allergies can be reduced by up to 50%. Breastfed babies also have a lower risk as adults of being overweight and developing cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.
Breastfeeding hormones encourage the uterus to shrink back to its normal size, which protects you from blood loss and anaemia and lowers your risk of getting a uterine infection after the birth. Studies have also shown that breastfeeding lowers the frequency of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer and reduces the risk of heart attacks.
Breast milk is healthy, practical, available at all times, always the right temperature, easily digested, costs nothing, and meets all hygienic requirements. Breastfeeding is also good for the environment because it generates no waste.