Breast milk is the ideal nutrient mix for your baby, put together by Mother Nature.
Its composition is superbly suited to the needs of your baby at each developmental stage: From the substantial colostrum (first milk) to the mature breast milk, your body’s own personal “milk bar” offers everything which your child needs for a healthy start in life.
The first milk which your baby drinks is the precious colostrum. Yellow in colour and thick, colostrum is perfectly tailored to the needs of your child:
- Extremely rich in vitamins and minerals, so that even small amounts are sufficient to satisfy your baby’s appetite
- Contains antibodies which prevent your baby from infections and which assist the child in building up his/her own immune system
- Acts as a laxative, enabling the meconium (the first, black/green stool) to be passed more easily
Around five days after birth, the milk changes from colostrum to mature milk. This is referred to as “engorgement” (also known as the time when your milk “comes in”) and you can clearly feel when this is happening. Your breasts become swollen, tender and warmer.
This can be very unpleasant. On the page “Breastfeeding problems”, you will find tips and tricks for alleviating the pain.
Mature breast milk changes continually, thereby constantly adapting to the needs of your baby. Over time, the protein content diminishes and is replaced by more vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and trace elements.
The composition of the milk even changes during a feeding session.
- The first milk which your baby drinks after latching on is blueish and thin; this primarily quenches your baby’s thirst.
- The milk then becomes more yellow and thicker, as the fat content is now three times as high.
- Towards the end of the feeding session, the milk is highly nutrient-rich and very filling.