Breastfeeding mums who pump know their breastmilk so well.
They know the colour, the texture, the quantity that each pump session will yield at different times of the day, even the taste and smell of their milk. And of course, these mums notice even subtle changes in their breastmilk.
Recently, one breastfeeding mum in the US — Mallory Smothers — was quite taken aback when she noticed a very distinct difference in the colour of two batches of breastmilk pumped just a night apart.
Smothers took to Facebook to share the picture of the two packs of breastmilk, and explain why she thinks her breastmilk “changed” in this manner.
Her post caught the attention of netizens around the world, and now has more than 70,000 ‘likes’.
A “cuckoo awesome” discovery!
“I nurse Baby every 2 hours or so overnight and don’t pump until we get up for the day,” wrote Smothers in her Facebook post.
On Friday (12 February) morning, she saw that her little girl was “congested, irritable, and sneezing” — clear signs of a cold.
It was when she pumped again that day that she noticed something pretty amazing about the latest batch of milk.
Her breastmilk resembled colostrum, that remarkable “first milk” mums produce that is packed with antibodies and is high in concentrated nutrition for newborns.
For all these incredible properties and also because colostrum is usually orangey-yellow in colour, it is quite appropriately also known as “liquid gold”.
Smothers recalls an article she recently read that describes how a mum’s milk “changes to tailor baby’s needs in more ways than just caloric intake.”
“When a baby nurses, it creates a vacuum in which the infant’s saliva sneaks into the mother’s nipple.
“There, it is believed that mammary gland receptors interpret the “baby spit backwash” for bacteria and viruses and, if they detect something amiss (i.e., the baby is sick or fighting off an infection), Mom’s body will actually change the milk’s immunological composition, tailoring it to the baby’s particular pathogens by producing customized antibodies.”
Smothers believes her breastmilk changed to become more like colostrum in response to her “nursing the baby with a cold all night long.”
This mum’s guess is probably right — a 2013 study in Clinical and Translational Immunology proves that the amount of leukocytes in a mum’s breastmilk increases when either mummy or baby has an infection.
Yet another score for the amazing properties of breastmilk!
Have you ever experienced a change in the colour or texture of your breastmilk when you or your baby were sick? Share your thoughts about this article in a comment below.