The wonderful composition of breast milk
It is said time and again that breast milk is "the best for my baby". But what makes breast milk so special? What does it actually contain? I would like to give you an overview of the most important ingredients.
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First of all, breast milk contains water. It is the main ingredient in milk, which makes it thirst-quenching. All the other components of breast milk are dissolved in the water. At the end of the breastfeeding meal, it has a higher fat content and thus adapts to the baby's needs. For example, the baby drinks only a few sips when it is only thirsty. To satisfy hunger as well, it then sucks longer.
Another component is cells, as well as proteins. The proteins in the mother's milk have a very specific protein composition, which is different from that of other mammals. There can also be different proteins in milk from mother to mother. The proteins are easily digestible and do not overload the baby's kidneys, which are not yet mature.
Furthermore, enzymes and immunoglobolins, for immune defense and protection against infections, are contained. Breast milk also adapts its composition when the baby is ill, for example, and thus ensures special support for the immune defense.
In addition, breast milk naturally also contains fats, whereby the fat content changes in the course of breastfeeding, as I have already described above. The fats are in high concentration unsaturated fatty acids. These can be absorbed more easily by the body than saturated fatty acids. In addition, individual fatty acids are also said to be important for brain development, as well as the maturation of the visual organs.
Carbohydrates are also a component of milk. Lactose accounts for the largest share. Carbohydrates are also important for the development of the brain, but also for growth. Apart from that, the milk contains minerals and trace elements, which correspond exactly to the needs of a baby. Trace elements are important mainly in relation to the action of enzymes. The vitamins contained, such as vitamin A, vitamin C or vitamin B12 are also present in sufficient quantities. Vegan women may have to take vitamin B12 additionally.
Finally, hormones and growth factors are also contained. These serve e.g. the cell maturation and again the brain development. Until today, however, not all ingredients of breast milk could be identified and it also seems to be different. It differs from mom to mom and depending on the age of the child, as well as other factors such as whether the child is currently ill.
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