The More I Learn About Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am
By Angela Garbes
“To produce breast milk, mothers melt their own body fat. Are you with me? We literally dissolve parts of ourselves, starting with gluteal-femoral fat, aka our butts, and turn it into liquid to feed our babies.”
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Breast-feeding leads to better overall health outcomes for children, which is why the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that babies be exclusively breast-fed for a minimum of six months.
Those outcomes, though, are relative: A premature infant in the neonatal intensive-care unit or a baby growing up in a rural African village with a high rate of infectious disease and no access to clean water will benefit significantly more from breast milk over artificial milk, called formula, than a healthy, full-term baby born in a modern Seattle hospital.
More compelling to me are the straightforward facts about breast milk: It contains all the vitamins and nutrients a baby needs in the first six months of life (breast-fed babies don’t even need to drink water, milk provides all the necessary hydration), and it has many germ- and disease-fighting substances that help protect a baby from illness. Oh, also: The nutritional and immunological components of breast milk change every day, according to the specific, individual needs of a baby. Yes, that’s right, and I will explain how it works in a minute. Not nearly enough information is provided by doctors, lactation counselors, or the internet about this mind-blowing characteristic of milk.
Nutritionally, breast milk is a complete and perfect food, an ideal combination of proteins, fat, carbohydrates, and nutrients. Colostrum, the thick golden liquid that first comes out of a woman’s breasts after giving birth (or sometimes weeks before, as many freaked-out moms-to-be will tell you) is engineered to be low in fat but high in carbohydrates and protein, making it quickly and easily digestible to newborns in urgent need of its contents. Please read the rest of this article HERE.