Breast milk, also known as mother’s milk, is the milk produced by a woman’s breasts. It is the best liquid gold for newborns and major source of nutrients.
There is no doubt that breast milk is the best food for newborns. It provides all the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.
Breast milk also contains antibodies that help protect babies from infection. This blog post will discuss the benefits of breast milk and how it can help newborns get off to a healthy start in life.
Breast milk, also known as mother’s milk, is the milk produced by a woman’s breasts. Breast milk is the perfect food and newborn’s major source of nutrients and calories. It is also easy to digest and a rich source of antibodies that help protect babies from diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhea.
The composition of breast milk changes over time to meet the baby’s changing needs. For example, the fat content of breast milk increases during the first few days after birth and then gradually decreases over time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all babies be fed breast milk exclusively for the first six months of life.
Phases of breast milk
There are three phases of breast milk:
Colostrum is the first milk your breasts produce following your child’s birth. This thick, sticky breast milk is frequently referred to as “liquid gold” because it is packed with nutrients and antibodies that help protect your newborn from disease. In addition, it is high in antibodies and low in fat.
It’s also high in minerals and vitamins, with higher vitamin A, E, and K levels than mature breast milk. The percentage of protein in colostrum is also higher than in mature milk.
It is produced during the second to fourth week after childbirth. This type of breast milk is thinner and bluish. In addition, it has more fat than colostrum, which helps to promote brain development.
According to the name, it’s the transition between colostrum and mature milk. It becomes creamier in color and texture and richer in fat as your baby grows.
Mature milk is the type of breast milk you will produce once your baby is about a month old. This is the breast milk produced after your transitional milk has dried up. Mature milk is thinner than transitional milk and has a higher fat content.
Your breast milk will be fully mature by the time your baby is four weeks old. It’s high in protein, sugar, vitamins, minerals, and fat, which helps your baby’s healthy growth and development.
Types of Breast milk in one course of feeding
There are two types of breast milk in one course of feeding: foremilk and hindmilk.
It is the milk that is expressed at the beginning of a feeding. It is lower in fat and calories than hindmilk. Foremilk is important for quenching your baby’s thirst and providing the fluids that are essential for your baby’s healthy growth and development.
It is the milk that is expressed at the end of a feeding. It is higher in fat and calories than foremilk, which is the milk that is expressed at the beginning of a feeding. Hindmilk helps satisfy your baby’s hunger and provides the calories and fat essential for your baby’s growth and development.
Benefits of breast milk
There are many benefits of breast milk for both mother and baby.
- Breast milk is easy to digest
- It contains antibodies that help protect babies from infection
- It eases your baby’s stomach, digestive system, or bowels development and growth.
- It contains vitamin D, which helps to prevent rickets in the infant
- It helps mothers to lose weight after giving birth
- It’s a kind of natural contraception
- It can help reduce the risk of certain chronic illnesses, such as obesity and type II diabetes
- Breast milk is also beneficial for moms, helping to reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer
- Breastfeeding also helps to strengthen the bond between mother and baby
So, what are you waiting for? If you can, breastfeed your baby! It’s the best decision you can make for their health.
What is exclusive breastfeeding?
Only breastfeeding in your first 3 to 4 months should help your newborn. This can be described as “exclusively breastfeeding”. Breast milk may be given to the baby by the breastmilk formula.
You shouldn’t provide your toddler with water for the first few months. If your doctor says your newborn should take vitamin D, your doctor will advise you to take it. The AMA Pediatrics suggests breastfeeding infants get vitamin D supplements. Your child’s provider will give you information about vitamin D.
Pumping your breastmilk
If you can’t breastfeed your newborn directly, keep pumping until your child eats. It helps you make more milk. Before using the pump, keep your hands clean. If soap isn’t available, you should apply hand soap with a minimum of 60% alcohol content on hand.
Keep your pump clean and your fluid pump parts & bottle clean. The breast or the thigh is clean. You may also have problems with getting baby’s milk started by:
- Not using the pump correctly
- Having an ineffective letdown reflex.
- If you have a low milk supply, see a lactation consultant.
- If you have an oversupply, hand express some milk before pumping to reduce discomfort.
When you finish pumping, put the milk into a clean, dry container. Store it in the fridge or freezer immediately. If you are going to feed your baby within four hours, you can keep the milk at room temperature.
You should label the container with:
- The date
- The time
- The amount of milk
You can breastfeed your baby when you are together. If you have to leave him/her with someone, pump your milk ahead of time. You may want to use a breastmilk storage bag to store the expressed milk. These are available at most pharmacies.
When you are ready to feed your baby, thaw the frozen milk in the refrigerator overnight or place it under running water. You can warm up refrigerated milk by placing it in a bowl of hot water. Never microwave breastmilk as it can destroy nutrients.
If you have any questions about storing breastmilk, talk to a lactation consultant or your baby’s healthcare provider.
Storage of expressed breast milk
Freshly expressed breast milk can be kept at room temperature for up to six hours. However, it’s optimal to use or properly store the breast milk within four hours, especially if the room is warm.
Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in an insulated cooler with ice packs for up to one day. However, it’s optimal to use or properly store the breast milk within 24 hours.
Freshly expressed breast milk can also be stored in the back of a deep freezer for up to 12 months, but using the frozen milk within six months is optimal. Keep in mind that research suggests that the longer you store breast milk, whether in the refrigerator or the freezer, the greater the loss of vitamin C in the milk. It’s also important to note that your breast milk changes to meet your baby’s needs.
Expressed breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. It can be stored in the freezer for up to six months. However, it’s optimal to use or properly store the breast milk within three months.
Thawed frozen breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Start counting the 24 hours when the breast milk is completely thawed, not from the time when you took it out of the freezer. Once breast milk is brought to room temperature or warmed, use it within 2 hours. Never refreeze breast milk after it has thawed.
Use breast milk storage bags or clean, food-grade containers to store expressed breast milk. Make sure the containers are made of glass or plastic and have tight-fitting lids. Avoid bottles with the recycle symbol number 7, which indicates that the container may be made of BPA-containing plastic.
Guide to storing fresh breastmilk for use with healthy, full-term babies
Guide for storage of breast milk at room temperature for a healthy full-term baby.
- Cover containers with clean towels to keep milk cooler.
- Throw away leftover milk two hours before your baby is eaten.
- Store milk at room temperature.
- At the workplace, breast milk should be stored in the shared fridge.
- Please mark this container in clear terms. Freeze at 0 degrees F or colder within six months is ideal. It will be possible until one year.
Breast milk storage: Do’s and don’ts
Milk storage may confuse you a bit. Follow this helpful guide to storing and preparing breast milk for storage, thawing the breast milk, and more.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling breast milk.
- Use clean, food-grade IBCLC containers to store expressed milk.
- Make sure the containers are airtight and have tight-fitting lids.
- Date the milk and use it within the recommended time frame.
- Thoroughly clean all pumping equipment after each use.
- Don’t use bottles with the recycle symbol number seven, as they may be made of BPA-containing plastic.
- Don’t add new milk to milk that has already been frozen.
- Don’t refreeze thawed breast milk.
- Don’t use a microwave to thaw or heat breast milk.
- Don’t leave breast milk out at room temperature for longer than four hours.
- Don’t use hot water to clean pump parts or bottles.
- Don’t store expressed milk in the fridge or freezer door.
Breast milk is the best liquid gold for newborns. It provides all the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Breast milk also contains antibodies that help protect babies from infection.