How Your Breast Milk Adjusts To Your Baby’s Needs
We can all agree that breast milk is one of the most incredible things around. It provides our babies with all the nutrients and vitamins they need, when they need it. Most of us, however, don’t actually understand the true power and complexity of breast milk until we really look into it, or start breastfeeding.
Your breast milk changes as your baby grows. It accommodates their different needs at different ages and even has immune-boosting components. Breast milk can change from the morning to the afternoon and can tell exactly what your baby needs.
It is true to its name of liquid gold. There are some mind-blowing ways that your breast milk adjusts to your baby’s needs, all between composition, taste, and color.
Your Baby’s Age
When your baby is born, your breasts produce colostrum, which is a thick, yellow first milk. It is packed with different components that protect and nourish your newborn. Colostrum contains secretory immunoglobulin, which coats the internal organs as well as the linings of the different tracts. This stops bacteria and pathogens from getting through the gut, giving your baby great protection.
Breast milk then changes after the first few days to transitional milk. This lasts around seven days and then becomes mature milk. Most of the same components found in colostrum are found in mature milk, but it is more diluted to provide a higher volume of milk. As your baby continues to grow, the fat content in your milk also increases.
Related Article: Did You Know Breast Milk Grows with Your Baby?
Once your baby becomes a toddler, your milk will start to decrease as your toddler is eating and drinking from other sources. The milk now contains more antibodies and has a higher fat content as well. Breastfeeding to two years and beyond has great immune-benefits and will help your child reach their nutritional and emotional needs.
Growth Spurts and Illness
Breast milk remains somewhat constant when it comes to proteins, fat, and sugar, but the milk does react when there are micro-level changes to bacteria, viruses or your baby’s feeding routine. Breast milk will increase in fat content when your baby nurses frequently over several days, as this indicates your baby is in a growth spurt. Amazingly, your breast milk picks up on cues from your baby’s saliva that they are becoming sick, and your milk will provide your baby with antibodies that are illness-specific. It is truly incredible! The same goes for a mom who becomes ill, the body will produce antibodies to be passed to the baby to stop the baby from becoming ill as well.
Time of Day
Breast milk also changes with the time of day. A majority of moms report that they have more milk and a faster flow in the earlier hours of the day. Milk produced in the evening contains more serotonin which helps your baby sleep.
Fore milk and Hind milk
At the beginning of a feed, your baby will drink fore milk. This is more watery in consistency. At the end of the feed, your baby will drink hind milk. Hind milk is thicker and has a higher fat content than fore milk.
Color of Milk
The color of breast milk can change quite easily, and it is perfectly normal to have colored breastmilk. This could be caused by a wide range of factors, the food you eat, dyes in drink and even due to some blood in your milk.
Related Article: Why Does My Milk Change Color?.
The Miracle of Breast Milk
It is really quite amazing that our bodies can produce something as miraculous and complex as breast milk. It is everything and more that our babies need to have a healthy, fulfilled diet, keeping them fed, growing and protected against bacteria and viruses. Not to mention, it is the tastiest thing around for the little ones as well