Human milk is ideal for infants and with its unique mix of right quality and quantity of basic ingredients like proteins, lactose, vitamins, fat, minerals, and water , it is preferable over any supplements.
Let us have an overview of the various ingredients present in mother's milk.
- High quality proteins:
Proteins are made up of amino acids that promote the development of eyes and brain and helps in learning social skills. The prominent amino acid found in human milk is taurine, which contributes towards optimal development of brains and eyes. Proteins are digested easily by infants and this makes them hungry sooner. Little energy is sufficient for digestion of proteins found in mother's milk.
- Self digesting fats :
Fat found in mother's milk is rich in an enzyme called lipase. Lipase contributes towards breakdown of fat into tinier globules facilitating easier absorption of milk fat into the blood stream. This accounts for the reason why human milk is easily digested by infants. Fat provides the much needed energy to growing infants for their daily needs and lipase sees that higher concentration of fat becomes available for the infants. Artificial milks should not be fed to infants as their digestive system is highly immature ad lots of energy is required for growth in early stages which can be obtained from human milk only.
The fat content varies in human milk with the foremilk is primarily thirst quencher whereas the hind milk is richer in fats. In infants, a substance named myelin covers the nerves and helps in transmitting messages to other nerves spread across the body and brain. Fatty acids like linoleic and linolenic present in higher concentration in human milk promotes formation of high quality myelin.
- Minerals and Vitamins :
Calcium, phosphorus, and iron present in human milk have higher bioavailability for babies which implies their chemical composition makes them highly available for ready use of infant's body. About 50 to 75% of iron content in human milk is absorbed by blood stream. Minerals are present in right quantity in the human milk which facilitates their easy disposal as stools by the immature intestines of infants. The ecology of the gut is not disturbed which thwarts harmful bacteria from flourishing and promotes the growth of beneficial ones.
Human milk contains facilitators that contribute towards easy absorption of other nutrients in the blood stream of newborns. Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron and zinc.
Hormones and enzymes :
A host of beneficial hormones and enzymes are actively present in human milk that influences infant's metabolism, physiology, growth and fosters tissue formation in the digestive tract and other vital body parts.
The ingredients present in mother's milk may exhibit subtle effects but their implications are far reaching. The advantages garnered by babies who are breastfed lasts till late adulthood. Breast milk helps in putting the nutrients where they belong to i.e. the infant's blood stream for overall sustained growth and not in infant's bowels to be disposed off.