Common Questions About Breastfeeding

the nutritional needs of your growing infant?

The benefits of breastfeeding are well-documented, but did you know that the composition of breast milk may be different than the nutritional needs of your growing infant? Mothers tend to think that their choice of formula is designed just for their babies; however, many research studies have shown that the composition of human milk greatly varies between breeds. The following is a short review of these essential nutrients and what they offer to your newborn:

Human milk has two basic types of fats-soluble and non-fat-soluble vitamins. About 80% of breast milk is fat-soluble, and the remainder is non-fat-soluble. The fat-soluble vitamins are vitamin A, D, and E, as well as the B vitamins. These vitamins are essential for overall health and nutrition, but the quantity and quality of these vitamins may vary depending on the mother’s diet.

the composition of the hormones

Another difference is in the composition of the hormones and bacteria found in human milk. In comparison to formula, breast milk is much higher in fats and lower in sugars and proteins. Human milk also contains only few bacteria, which are necessary for the growth and development of the infant. Formula has many bacteria and more of these provide the additional calories that make up extra fat.

Breast milk also contains many B vitamins, which are important to an infant’s health. The mineral zinc is especially important to the health and nutritional needs of infants. Zinc plays a role in the infant’s formation of red blood cells, as well as in helping to form the lining of the infant’s mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Other important minerals are folic acid and iron. Folic acid is particularly important for women, because it helps prevent infections in the uterus, and iron is essential for the production of red blood cells.

added sugars and calories

Human milk contains all of the nutrients that an infant needs for growth and development. Breast milk provides the needed quantities of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins that are necessary for healthy brain and nervous system development. Human milk contains fewer calories than formula, and its lack of added sugars and calories makes it a much healthier option for infants.

Experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for infants until they are one year of age. However, some medical practitioners recommend breastfeeding for up to six months, based on individual cases. Premature babies may be encouraged to go beyond six months due to their weight and feeding preferences. Infant formulas are available in different flavors, textures, and sizes to meet the varying tastes of infants. Some formula manufacturers have also introduced formulas for formula-fed babies that contain breast milk itself.

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