“Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. Review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.“
What’s In Breastmilk
Breastmilk is the perfect nourishment for your little babe. Not only does breastmilk contain the proper ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, it contains immune factors- antibodies and immunoglobulins- that help babe to fight infection and strengthen their immune system.
A quick look at each:
- The recommended protein intake for infants from birth to 6 months is about 9.1 g per day (1.52 g per kg of body weight per day). From the age of 7 months to 12 months, it is about 11.0 g per day (1.2 g per kg of body weight per day). 
- Proteins are required for building, maintenance, and repair of infant’s tissues.
- 60% whey and 40% casein make up breastmilk proteins –
- Casein aids in the absorption of minerals in the infant’s gut, may help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and discourage the growth of pathogens in the GI tract.
- “The protein content of colostrum is twice the level of protein in mature milk, but much of the additional protein in colostrum is in the form of immune factors such as antibodies and immunoglobulins, which help the infant resist infection.” 
- An infant’s intake of carbohydrates from birth to 6 months is about 60 g per day. From the age of 7 months to 12 months this increases to about 95 g per day. 
- Lactose is the primary carbohydrate in breastmilk.
- Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs): indigestible components that promote the healthy development of beneficial intestinal bacteria that inhibit pathogens in breastfed infants.
- An infant’s intake of fat, or lipids, is approximately 31 g per day from birth to 6 months. From the age of 7 months to 12 months, with the introduction of complementary foods such as cereal, intake decreases to 30 g per day.
- About 50% of the calories in breast milk come from fat (thank goodness: the size of the stomach and digestive system of a baby is really small, fat has more than twice the caloric content of protein and carbs, so less goes a longer way).
- Protect and maintain brain development in the infant.
- Serve as insulation for baby and protect baby from injury.
- Thought to bind themselves to macromolecules such as enzymes and as a result prevent allergic and anaphylactic reactions. 
Growth Factors and Hormones:
- Aid in the maturation of the babe’s intestinal lining. 
- Used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects, such as bacteria and viruses. [10, 11]
If you would like to know EXACTLY what’s in breast milk that makes it the perfect nourishment (and the difference between breastmilk and formula)
If you are new to breastfeeding:
Before your babe is born, make 2 appointments with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
- Click here to find an IBCLC in your area.
- Appointment #1: to educate yourself “how to breastfeed properly”
- Appointment #2: within one to two days after your baby’s birth. This appointment will allow you piece of mind in knowing what you are doing is correct.
- My IBCLC is Lori J. Isenstadt, from All About Breastfeeding. She’s AWESOME!! Lori’s Facebook page!!
- World Health Organization
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- Health Canada
- The Visual MD
- Institute of Medicine, Dietary Reference Intakes
- Breastfeeding: Unraveling the Mysteries of Mother’s Milk (Georgetown University Medical Center)
- Oguchi S et al. Growth factors in breast milk and their effect on gastrointestinal development. Department of Pediatrics, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan. 1997 Sep-Oct;38(5):332-7.
- Reddy V et al. Antimicrobial factors in human milk. Acta Paediatr Scand. 1977 Mar;66(2):229-32.
- Immune factors in human milk – KellyMom
- The Newman Breastfeeding Clinic (Dr. Jack Newman) –Facebook
- KellyMom.com (evidence-based breastfeeding) –Facebook
- Le Leche League International
- World Health Organization (WHO) Breastfeeding
- WHO Exclusive Breastfeeding
- It’s Time to End the Breast is Best Myth (article- though I don’t agree with much of this article, I love that this mama breastfed her baby until toddler-hood)
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Content Created: 05/14