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The science of breast milk
It is well known that breast milk is the best form of nutrition for an infant. It is able to provide a sole source of nutrition for growth and development including brain and eye development until around six months of age and as part of a mixed diet until two years of age.
As well as providing the best source of nutrition, research has discovered that breast milk contains many biological and physiological components that help to strengthen the developing immune system. Read on to find out more about a few of these components.
Read on for more information
Breast milk is a complex substance, containing the perfect nutritional mixture needed for growth and development including brain and eye development. It provides the best type of nutrition for your baby. Breast milk also contains many other unique properties that researchers have found have no nutritional values but exhibit biological and physiological functions which strengthen the developing immune system. These biological and physiological properties are unique to breast milk and some of these are:
Antibodies which can also be known as immunoglobulins, consist of 5 main forms IgG, IgA, IgM, IgD, IgE. These protective proteins play an important physiological role in the functioning of the immune system as they identify and neutralise foreign objects. An infant starts to acquire antibodies through the placenta prior to birth, however after birth an infant acquires these antibodies through breast milk.
White Blood Cells
White blood cells can also be known as leukocytes. These are cells which form part of the immune system. Their main role is to help to defend the body against foreign materials. Colostrum (the breast milk received in the first few days after birth) contains high amounts of white blood cells which are important for the development of the infants immune system.
If you have any questions on the benefits of breastfeeding, call our team of experts including nutritionists and dietitians, a midwife and, of course, mums on 1800 438 500.
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