We had no idea breast milk was this amazing!
We know that nothing can quite compare to breastmilk when it comes to your baby’s nutrition. We know that breastfeeding leads to smarter babies and is linked with lower incidences of childhood obesity, but breastmilk has so many other benefits.
Here’s one cool thing about breast milk that you might not have known: according to an article on The Stranger, “The nutritional and immunological components of breast milk change every day, according to the specific, individual needs of a baby.”
Yes, a breastfeeding mother’s body actually alters the milk’s composition so that it can cater to the baby’s needs. If that’s not blowing your mind right now, nothing will.
According to biologist Katie Hinde, a nursing baby creates a vacuum with its suckling that causes its saliva to be sucked back into the mother’s nipple. The receptors in the mammary glands then translate the information picked up from the “baby spit backwash”, which it then uses to adjust the breast milk’s immunological composition.
“The antibody content in the mother’s milk contributes not only to the immediate but also to the long term protection of the infant”
So, if your baby is sick, your body picks up on this as he nurses, and will cater to it accordingly through your milk. This explains why breastfed babies don’t get sick as much as their formula-fed counterparts—their mother’s body is acting, as Mom.me puts it, like an “undercover doctor/pharmacist”.
A study from the Department of Clinical Immunology in University of Göteborg, Switzerland reads:
Breast feeding has been shown to decrease morbidity in gastroenteritis, septicemia, otitis media, urinary tract infection, encephalitis, pneumonia, and necrotizing enterocolitis. The antibody content in the mother’s milk probably contributes not only to the immediate but also to the long term protection of the infant including both resistance to infection and development of immunological tolerance to harmless environmental antigens.
How awesome is that?