Breast milk is the best and most nutritional complete food to achieve proper growth and development of full term infants.
The World health organization (WHO) has recommended that a healthy infant should be exclusively breast fed up to 6months of age. Pre-mature and low birth weight babies may require specialized formula and breast milk.
Colostrum is the breast milk that is secreted for the first few days after birth. It is high in protein and lower in fat and sugar than the breast milk that is secreted later.
Colostrum has a laxative effect. This helps in activating the baby’s bowel.
Colostrum is also rich in antibodies and therefore increases the baby’s resistance to infection.
Hormones that are released due to the baby’s suckling increase the flow of breast milk. Breast milk is easy to digest and provides all the necessary nutrients that the baby requires for 4-6months.
Breast milk has two parts- the beginning of the feed is called as foremilk. It is high in sugar and water. It is a real thirst quencher for the baby.
As the baby continues to feed, the milk becomes rich in fat and calories. This is known as hindmilk.
ADVANTAGES OF BREAST MILK-
An adequate alternative to breast milk is infant formula. It provides comparable nutrition but lacks certain benefits of breast.