Nutritional Information Breast Milk Vs. Whole Milk
| Breast milk is produced in the mammary glands of women. According to research, breast milk is an infant’s most valuable source of nutrients, minerals and disease fighting cells and antibodies, a requirement that does not have any replacement in this world. But, what are the actual contents of breast milk and how does it differ from the constituents of whole milk?
Colostrum is the first milk given to infants. This is a yellow colored liquid with thick consistency, which is due to presence of high protein content. Colostrum is low in fat and sugar and acts as a natural laxative helping the baby pass the first dark stools called merconium. This is necessary for preventing jaundice.
Mature milk appears after 48-72 hrs of initiation of breastfeeding. Mature milk is of two types that include foremilk and hind-milk. The foremilk is a light bluish liquid with a watery consistency and is low in calories and fat. Hind-milk is produced after the baby drains foremilk. Hind-milk contains more amounts of fat and protein. There is another form of breast milk that is produced at a later stage of child birth and is called toddler milk. Toddler milk supplies proteins, fats, mineral, vitamins and antibodies.
The chemical constituents of breast milk include cholesterol required for enhancing myelinization of nervous tissue, taurine for bile acid metabolism, choline for improved memory, decahexanoic acid required for growth and development of brain and nervous tissue, enzymes important for fat digestion, iron, lactoferrin that aids in iron transport, inositol required for synthesis of surfactant in immature lung tissue, poly and oligo-saccharides that prevent bacterial binding to intestinal surfaces, proteins that provide aminoacids and also bind calcium and zinc, white blood cells transmitting immunity from mother, nucleotides required for DNA and RNA synthesis, glutathione peroxidase, alkaline phosphatase, xanthine oxidase and secretory immunoglobulin A required to fight infection.
Pediatricians recommend the use of whole milk or cow’s milk to infants who cannot be fed on breast milk. While human milk contains 1.1 percent protein, 4.2 percent fat and 7.0 percent lactose, cow’s milk contains 3.4 percent protein, 3.6 percent fat and 4.6 percent lactose. Human milk supplies 72kcal of energy per 100 gms and cow’s milk provide 66kcal of energy per 100 gms. Other ingredients in whole milk include casein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, Iodine, Vitamin B12, Riboflavin, Vitamin A, Biotin, Pantothenic acid, Potassium, Magnesium, Selenium, Thiamine, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid.
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