Five New Important Facts About Breast Milk That May Make Everyone A Believer Who Were Not Convinced Before That Breastfeeding is Preferable and Raises Some Questions That May Not Have Previously Been Considered

Breast milkThis Grandma has written several posts about breastfeeding over the years, most saying that it should be a choice, nor guilting or forcing new mothers to do something too difficult for them or if they were unable to breastfeed. *

My Mother breastfed me and my brother at a time when it was the only way to go. When I had my babies, the new formula ads won me over. Our children are just fine having been formula babies. Our grandchildren are breastfed babies, and I saw the difficulties and hardships of our working mother daughters to breastfeed for as long as they did. They were committed.

It has only been with our youngest nine month old baby grandson do I see the actual benefits of the close bond between he and his mother, who works extraordinarily long week day hours. I do attribute this in part to her continued breastfeeding him. Yes, he is healthy and robust, and of course, the cutest baby on earth.

I had previously researched anything and everything about breastfeeding, or so I thought. A new article in the Washington Post, October 9, 2018, “Why scientists are working to unlock these five puzzles about mother’s milk,” By Lindzi Wessel, reviews her own report in Knowledgeable Magazine, about new research on bread milk. It is well worth reading this article.

The five new facts about breast milk are important:

NEW INFORMATION ON IMMUNITY

Research suggests that infant saliva traveling back through the mother’s breast ducts carries a status report on the baby’s health and immune components in milk ramp up when babies need them most, with infant saliva traveling back through the mother’s breast ducts carrying a status report on the baby’s health, with levels of white blood cells in milk jumping up tremendously, whether both mother and baby are sick or just baby is sick.

NEW INFORMATION ON BABY SLEEP AND WAKEFULNESS

Hormones that control sleepiness and wakefulness are present in and adjusted in breast milk according to studies, such that breastfeeding milk may help babies sleep or wake on a schedule. A study found that melatonin levels were, on average, nearly five times higher in breast milk produced at night than during the day. Another study found that levels of the hormones cortisone and cortisol were higher in morning breast milk than in milk produced in the afternoon, evening and night.  Query:  Should mothers pumping and freezing now note not only the date but the time of day?  Should mothers who donate breast milk or obtain donated breast milk also note and request time as well as date?

HEALTHY BABY GUT

Research suggests that breast milk may have evolved to include complex sugars bolster the kinds of intestinal bacteria that can digest the compounds into short-chain fatty acids, which promote the growth of microbes that help keep babies healthy, a healthy infant gut microbiome.

VARIATIONS IN BREAST MILK

There are great variations in breast milk, even from the same mother, with different babies. The most interesting to me is the research that showed variation by sex of the baby, that mothers make more milk for female offspring, but milk richer in fat for male offspring.  Query:  Should mothers who donate breast milk or obtain donated breast milk also note and request sex of baby as well as date?

STEM CELLS IN BREAST MILK

There are stem cells in breast milk from both the mother and the baby. These are undifferentiated cells retain flexibility that most adult cells have lost and can develop into a broad variety of tissues. Unknown is how these might be helpful in the future.  Query: What does this mean for mothers who donate breast milk or obtain donated breast milk?

My breast feeding daughter was very interested in this new information.  Share this new information with your adult children, even if they are not yet contemplating having children. It may just be enough new information to help them appreciate the benefits of breastfeeding. It did for me.

 

Joy,

 

Mema

 

*Previous posts that touch on breastfeeding include:

The Pressure to Breast Feed and New Breast Feeding Studies Give Mixed Messages Which We Grandmas Can Clarify For the Parents of our Grandchildren

The Pressure to Breast Feed and New Breast Feeding Studies Give Mixed Messages Which We Grandmas Can Clarify For the Parents of our Grandchildren

Grandma Says Support Breastfeeding Working Women

Grandma Says Support Breastfeeding Working Women

Baby Signals are Grandchildren’s Signals Forever and Not Just About Feeding A Hungry Baby

Baby Signals are Grandchildren’s Signals Forever and Not Just About Feeding A Hungry Baby

Grandma Cancer Alert: Too Many Young Women and Young Mothers with Breast Cancer

Grandma Cancer Alert: Too Many Young Women and Young Mothers with Breast Cancer

 

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