Human milk is unique in composition and is best for the infant. The composition of Human milk changes as per the needs of the infant. Colostrum us secreted in the firs few days of the new born and is extremely important for the immunity of the new-born
If it is compared with bovine milk, it is found to have less total protein (8-10 g/l), but the biological value of this milk is higher and there is a right balance of caseins and whey proteins. This milk also has optimal ratio of n-3 and n-6 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
Human milk contains numerous components such as IgA, protective white blood cells , lysozyme, lactoferrin , interferon and cytokines. These substances help in passive immunity in the gastrointestinal tract and upper respiratory tract.
Babies on breast feed have a decreased rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the first year of life.
Breastfeeding reduces the incidence of allergic diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis and eczema
Breastfeeding causes reduced incidence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and is associated with 31 percent reduction of these conditions.
Children who are breast fed have lesser chances of having childhood obesity or type 2 diabetes.
Breast milk also plays a role in the prevention of malignancy. This is believed to be by stimulating and modulating the immune response
Breastfeeding is associated with a measurable advantage in cognitive development.
In preterm babies, breast feeding reduces the risk of neonatal sepsis.
Mothers who breast feed are less prone to post-partum haemorrhage and have rapid involution of the uterus.
Mothers who breast feed have decreased incidence of breast cancer
Mothers who breast feed also have lower incidence of ovarian cancers.
Breastfeeding also reduces the chances of postpartum depression in women.
The mothers also lose weight gained in pregnancy earlier if they are breast feeding.