Mother Nature has endowed mammals, including of course the human species, with a source from which to feed their young until they can feed themselves by other means. The mother's milk of each species is, therefore, the ideal food to raise their newborns. However, it is not only designed to meet the nutritional needs of babies and adapt to their different stages of growth, but also the Breastfeeding for babies has a benefit you may not have known about.
During the last decades, Research on human breast milk has yielded incredible results in many areas, from the discovery of the microbial ecosystem that lines the milk ducts and therefore forms part of the natural composition of milk, to the meticulous detail with which it has been possible to list many of the extra components it contains, and that help to make milk more complete formula for those babies who are fed with it.
Knowledge of the ability of breast milk to adapt throughout the feeding and the life of the newborn is already widespread. The milk that is initially produced, known as colostrum, has little or nothing to do with the transitional milk that comes later, or with mature milk.
Additionally, mature milk also changes its composition, adapting to the needs of the baby according to its growth stage. During the feeding, in addition, both transitional and mature milk are able to quench thirst, with a more watery milk and with more lactose at the beginning of the feeding, and hunger, with a denser and fatter milk towards the end of the shot.
It is easy that a mother who breastfeeds her baby has not noticed this change in milk, but mothers who offer delayed breastfeeding (expressing their milk and offering it to their baby in a bottle) are very used to seeing it. However, what they don't know is that, throughout the day, the composition of the milk that is expressed also varies, and it could be interesting, in addition to noting the date of the extraction, also noting the time of it.
Interestingly, relatively recent research suggests that the composition of this fluid changes in sync with maternal circadian rhythms, offering infants who are breastfed a first step in neurological development that establishes sleep patterns.
For example, and although the difficulty in isolating the variables around babies' sleep is immense, some scientists dare to suggest that breast milk could be the first and clearest example of what is known as chrononutrition. This philosophy of life suggests that we should eat according to our biological clocks, since food could have different effects on the body depending on the time of day when it is consumed, that is, the same food, at different times of the day, could vary the secretion of hormones and directly affect the functioning of the body.
According to this, the fact that the composition of breast milk varies could have an effect on the infant's circadian system, thus facilitating the conciliation of sleep when the content of melatonin and other amino acids such as tryptophan, related to rest, are in higher amounts, and matching the circadian rhythms of the mother and the baby so that they can both enjoy a good rest at the same time.
In fact, these same researchers found evidence that, during the day, amino acids precursors of hormones related to high brain activity were at high levels (also curiously iron, magnesium and zinc are high during the day), but disappeared in the samples taken during the evening / night, in contrast to tryptophan, vitamin E and melatonin, whose production increases with darkness.
In addition, during their first weeks of life, babies lack their own production of melatonin, so it is breast milk that provides this hormone that not only has a sleeping effect but also relaxes the gastrointestinal system, facilitating the absorption of nutrients. and decreasing the appearance of colic.
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