Buenos Aires 01 de Septiembre del 2020
Why is breast milk best for babies?
We often hear that breast milk is best for babies, but do we really understand the reasons why?
Many of the body's systems that we take for granted in adults are not yet fully functional in newborn babies. The digestive, immune (defence) and central nervous systems are some examples of these. However, breast milk contains many different compounds that can assist in developing these immature systems.
There are enzymes, which help the baby to digest the fats and proteins present in breast milk. Antibodies, similar to those of the mother, help protect the baby from infection. And the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids found in breast milk assist in the development of the baby's brain.
These are just three examples of how breast milk is tailored to the developmental requirements of the baby. So, breast milk does more than provide nutrients to the baby; it also assists in the baby's development. Infant formulae do not contain these compounds, and it is unlikely that many of them could be added. It is for these reasons - and many others - that breast milk is best for babies.
The University of Western Australia