What makes breast milk so incredible?
At a glance
SMA® Nutrition has been at the forefront of breast milk research for over 70 years. Even after all this time, we’re still in awe of the wonders of breast milk. In fact, the more we study this highly complex super food, the more fascinating we find it – it’s why we’re still making breakthrough discoveries. Here’s a brief overview of the benefits of breast milk and why it really is the gold standard for your little one.
So what’s in breast milk that makes it so special?
When it comes to nurturing babies, Mother Nature has really surpassed herself. The benefits of breast milk are enormous. It contains everything your growing newborn needs, in exactly the right amounts and in a form that’s easily digestible for brand-new tummies. It’s nutritionally complete and packed with thousands of ingredients: proteins, fats, lactose, vitamins, iron, water, minerals, enzymes and HMO’s (Human Milk Oligosaccharides). It even has the right level of fluid to hydrate your baby with no extra water intake needed for the first six months. Now that’s what we call a super food.
There’s no milk like breast milk.
Nothing compares to breast milk. It’s alive with living cells, hormones, active enzymes, antibodies and compounds with unique structures. It’s so dynamic it can’t be copied, even in the best science labs. The make-up of a mother’s milk is personalised to the specific, changing needs of her baby. Not just from week to week but from feed to feed and even during a feed. It’s a hard act to follow. Which is why the World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding as ‘an unequalled way of providing food for the healthy growth and development of infants.’1
Super food. Super everything.
Yes, breast milk is the ultimate super food, but it’s even more than that. It’s also a germ fighter, body builder, brain trainer, taste former, and baby-mummy-bonder all in one. Our research1 has found that breastfed babies have overall better health with lower obesity rates, fewer infections and stronger immune systems.
How? Because each drop of breast milk has all this: 2-6
antibodies that help to protect against illnesses and infections
hormones (like oxytocin) triggered by skin-to-skin contact to help with mummy and baby bonding3
optimal quality and quantity of nutrients to help protect against early food allergies, protein intolerance and sensitivities4
omega fatty acids, DHA and ARA, which help to support healthy brain and eye development5
stem cells that may help develop and repair organs6
white blood cells that fight infection7
healthy bacteria (aka probiotics) to help your baby’s digestive and immune systems8
enzymes to support baby’s digestive and immune systems
more than 150 HMOs (Human Milk Oligosaccharides) that support a healthy gut and bolster immunity.9
Find out more about HMOs here.
Breast milk really is the best milk.
When it comes to breast milk, Mother Nature really has thought of everything. At SMA® Nutrition we will continue to learn from her, researching the nutritional and immunological components of this miraculous substance.
- Victora CG, Bahl R, Barros AJD, et al. Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect. Lancet . 2016;387: 475–90.
- “Breastfeeding.” Nutrition , World Health Organization, 2 Aug. 2018, www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exclusive_breastfeeding/en/.
- Morrow AL. Human milk composition: nutrients and bioactive factors. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2013;60(1):49-74.
- Canadian Paedeatric Society & Breastfeeding Committee for Canada, Nutrition for Healthy Infants: Recommendations from birth to 6 months, Health Canada, 2014.
- Hassiotou F et al. Breastmilk is a novel source of stem cells with multilineage differentiation potential. Stem Cells. 2012;30(10):2164-2174.
- Chang CY et al. Essential fatty acids and human brain. Acta Neurol Taiwan. 2009 Dec;18(4):231-241. Jantscher-Krenn E, Bode L. Human milk oligosaccharides and their potential benefits for the breast-fed neonate. Minerva Pediatr. 2012;64(1):83-99.
- Human Milk Oligosaccharides Infographic. Human Milk Oligosaccharides Infographic, Abbott Laboratories Health Institute, 2018.