Despite the numerous milk formulas for infants that try to resemble human breast milk as close as possible, experts all over the world, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), still advise mothers that breast milk is still best for babies for up to two years.
Countless Benefits of Breast Milk
First of all, the portion of each component – proteins, fat, water, lactose, vitamins, and minerals – in breast milk is specific to the needs of babies.
In addition to this, breast milk contains the numerous “ingredients” for the healthy development of babies. First is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which is a key ingredient in breast milk. DHA is crucial for the growth, development, and maintenance of the brain tissue. It is also vital in the production of myelin, a fatty sheath surrounding the nerve fibers that is involved in the transmission of information inside the brain. Insufficient DHA could lead to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It could also lead to loss of coordination, weak muscles, and visual and speech problems.
Aside from DHA, breast milk is rich in taurine which also helps in brain development, aside from performing functions like absorbing fats and fat-soluble vitamins (as a component of bile), preventing brain cell over-activity, as an antioxidant, regulating heartbeat, and helping develop the nervous system.
Breast milk is also rich in nucleotides, the essential building blocks of nucleic acid not present in cow’s milk. Nucleotides play important functions in boosting the immune system. Studies also show that the presence of nucleotides enhances the digestive and intestinal functions due to higher mucosal protein in the intestine. That’s due to bifidobacteria which grows in the intestine because of nucleotides. The bifidobacteria are microorganisms that lower the acidity of the intestinal content and inhibit microbial growth. Nucleotides also facilitate the absorption of iron and enhances lipid metabolism.
Yet, these are not the only benefits of breast milk. It contains other healthy components like active enzymes, living cells, immunoglobulin, and hormones. Compared to milk formulas, breast milk is easily digestible, owing to the presence of the milk fat globule. Experts also believe that breast milk changes over time to suit the changing needs of an infant during development.
Moreover, psychologists suggest that breastfeeding establishes and reinforces the bond between a mother and her child, making the baby less colicky. Hence, breast milk still is the best for your baby.