6 Amazing Things You Should Know About Breast Milk
Mother Nature designed the perfect complete nourishment for your newborn. Breast milk is a highly alkaline, nutritive, substance that contains immune factor, an impeccable balance of fats, DHA, protein water, and happy hormones that meet the nutritional demands and emotional needs of your baby while promoting bonding and neurological development.
Mindful eating during pregnancy, after birth and while breastfeeding is essential to maintain optimal health and wellness of a growing baby and new mother. Your diet during this finite period is of the utmost importance. The dietary requirements for a nursing mom are high. Nourish yourself with whole foods to support ample milk supply, adequate energy and hormonal balance.
Your breast milk protects your little baby’s complex immune system
Every baby is born with passive immunity. This is the protection that your immune system provides for your little one throughout pregnancy. At birth, your baby has a supply of maternal antibodies that help protect against common childhood infections in the first months of life: coughs, colds, chicken pox, ear infections. During the second and third trimesters, the baby’s immune cells are forming but not able to work on their own. Around six months, your baby’s immune system will be able to produce its own antibodies and the timing is great because your passively acquired antibodies run out at about six months of life. This is one of the reasons why it is best to breast-feed exclusively for at least the first six months of life. The longer you breast-feed the better off your baby, so consider it an investment.
Your breast milk is the like liquid gold!
Breast-feeding is the best protection against illness and support for the baby’s immune system that a mother can provide. Breast milk wards off illnesses common in formula-fed babies, provides protection against allergies and gastrointestinal infections. Your milk is a good source of highly absorbable minerals, antioxidants and other antibacterial substances that protect the baby against bacterial or viral infection. Your milk is also a top-notch source of essential fatty acids, which are vital to proper neurological development, immune development and growth. Not to mention that each time you breast-feed you are bonding with your baby. When you experience the letdown reflex your body also secretes oxytocin (the love and bonding hormone) and you and your baby fall in love. So your milk is literally a love potion.
A healthy diet helps you maintain your milk factory
While breast-feeding you must make it a priority to look after yourself. Feeding and caring for your baby is awesome and it’s tiring too. It helps to have lots of healthy, nutrient-packed snacks around to provide you with energy. Fruit smoothies, green juice, nut and fruit bars, yogurt, nuts, porridges, soups, hummus and crackers, sandwiches and trail mix all help to provide sustainable energy throughout the day.
- Drink adequate water. Your body requires a lot more water to make breast milk, which is mostly water. Avoiding chemical additives and excess sugar is always good too.
- Eat at least five portions of fruit and veggies daily. This will provide the fiber, vitamins and phytonutrients needed by you and your baby. Having a fresh green juice or fruit smoothie in the morning is a great way to get an antioxidant boost!
- Avoid taking stimulants while breast-feeding. Caffeine found in coffee, tea, sodas and chocolate can cause irritability and restlessness in you and your baby, so beware.
Protecting a formula-fed baby
For a number of reasons some mamas aren’t able to breast-feed exclusively. If formula milks are the only option or if you have to supplement for any reason avoid cow’s milk-based formulas! Cow’s milk is designed to take a baby calf from 65 pounds to 600 pounds within one year. You don’t want to feed your child a hormone-laden substance that builds body mass at an alarming rate. You could opt for a vegetarian formula. There are also milk banks for moms interested in finding breast milk donors. Be sure to compare the essential fatty acid profile of the formulas on the market and choose the best option.
Booster for a Formula Feeder
- Add a quarter teaspoon of infant probiotic to your baby’s bottle once a day. This will provide some of the beneficial bacteria that is present in breast milk and protect against gastrointestinal infection.
- Add a few drops of organic flaxseed oil into your baby’s bottle once daily to provide a source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Rub the contents of a 500-mg evening primrose oil capsule onto your baby’s tummy after bath time to ensure a source of omega-6 essential fatty acids.
- Avoid overfeeding with the bottle. Bottle-fed babies don’t have to work their jaws for the milk and often overeat. Fat cells are laid down in infancy.
Kissing your breastfed baby helps to keep baby healthy!
Okay, so by now you’re obsessed with your baby! Did you know that breastfeeding moms can protect their babies by providing tailor-made antibodies to the bacteria and viruses their babies come in contact with? You already have a plethora of antibodies that have been created throughout your life that protect you against certain diseases. Many are totally irrelevant to your newborn, but others will give your baby’s immune system a vital boost.
When you kiss your baby’s cheek, you are effectively sampling the bacteria and viruses on his face that he is about to ingest. The bacteria get transferred to your body where your immune system is stimulated to create specific antibodies to fight these pathogens. You then pass the tailor-made antibodies back to your baby through your breast milk. So each time the baby is at the breast he is inoculated. Keep kissing and nuzzling your baby. What a perfect miracle!
Breastfeeding shrinks your waistline
Did you know that breastfeeding helps to contract the uterus back to its normal size? The uterus expands up to 500 times its normal size to accommodate pregnancy. Breastfeeding helps the uterus get toned and smaller again and also burns calories. Breastfeeding can burn up to 600 calories daily. Just from breastfeeding alone you can lose a pound every week. Breastfeeding is also linked to lower maternal weight gain.
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