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Breastmilk Provides the Optimal Nutrition

Updated on March 12, 2018
Pamela99 profile image

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

Breast Feeding For Optimal Baby Health

Milk produced by mothers for their newborn babies is the perfect source of nutrition. Mother’s milk is specifically tailored to the needs of the baby as it contains the right balance of nutrients, which include all the vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, lactose, water and antioxidants. Obviously some women cannot nurse for various reasons, and their are good formulas on the market.

The World Health Organization and UNICEF consider mother’s mile the “gold standard” in infant nutrition. The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending breastfeeding for at least one year, and it is helpful to nurse at least as a supplement through the second year before weaning.

Tryptophan, released from the mother’s milk, has antioxidant properties, which are especially crucial to the health of newborns, and even more so for a preterm infant. Pediatric Research of December, 2009, explain the properties further as the tryptophan acts as a free radical scavenger naturally present in mother’s milk.

Breast milk protects the babies from oxidative stress, which is linked to respiratory distress syndrome, hemorrhages, eye disorders and other problems.

Importance of Breastmilk

Milk plays a key role in the development of the child’s brain because the milk is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (DHA & AA), taurine, choline, zinc, vitamins and many other ingredients that support the process.

A baby’s brain develops rapidly in the first few years of life, and it is important to supply the baby with breastmilk right from the start through two years if possible, according to an article called Breastfeeding and Child Cognitive Development by Kramer, in The Archives of General Psychology (2008). Breast milk will enhance the child's cognitive ability according to a study that followed 13,889 children until 6.5 years.

The other important nutrients in breastmilk which make it so important:

  • Protein includes two types: whey and casein, which are easily digested.
  • Fatty Acids support the information processing and transmission that occurs in the brain. However, DHA and AA are not found in the human body, nor are the fatty acids, required to synthesis them; they can only be obtained through a person’s diet and breast milk contains one of the highest levels of these fatty acids.
  • Phospholipids are responsible for effective transmission of information along the neurons in the brain are also found in high levels of cholesterol in breast milk.
  • Taurine is important in the development of the brain and eyes as well as other important functions, and is its presence in breast milk is very important.
  • Choline plays a role in brain development sand functioning which is also essential.
  • Zinc has been created as the nutrient that protects cells in the brain and central nervous system due to its antioxidant properties.

Actual Video of Mom Receiving Instruction


Another wonderful property of breast milk is antibodies pass through to the baby as the milk contains several anti-infective factors such as bile salt, stimulated lipase, lactoferrin and immunoglobulin which basically mean the baby is protected against several microorganisms that cause disease. Numerous studies have proven that breastfed infants have a lower risk of infection. Another benefit is that fewer breastfed babies develop allergies.

To conclude, if you nurse your baby, the child will receive all the important nutrients necessary for normal healthy development and will be stay healthier from receiving the mother’s antibodies. Another benefit is financial as you will not need to buy formula. You can certainly bond with your baby whether you nurse or not. Spending time cuddling and talking to your child is bonding time.

© 2010 Pamela Oglesby


Submit a Comment
  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Nursing Mom, I am glad you are nursing and nursing does help babies remain healthier. Breast milk had white blood cells that help protect your baby from infections. I don't know anything specifically about the urinary tract infection but the overall protection should cover that system as well. Thanks for your comments.

  • profile image

    Nursing mom 

    8 years ago

    I'm currently breastfeeding my 19 month old and I'm still enjoying it. He loves it so much and so do I. He never seems to get sick or anything. My sister-in-law though has a 15 month old who has a urinary-tract infection and her doctors told her that breast milk helps to keep her sons urinary system clean, is that true?

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Support Med, Thank you so much for your comments and I hope it does help those moms who might be sitting on the fence about making the decision.

  • Support Med. profile image

    Support Med. 

    8 years ago from Michigan

    Excellent hub!! Breastfed mine!! Glad I did. Any moms to be out there will sure find thus hub very informative. Good work!!!!!!!!!! Congrats on you hub being chosen!!!!!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Jack, Thank you for your comment. I wish I had known back when I had my children the things I do know. I, like everyone, did the best they could and the children turned out just fine so I guess we didn't do to bad,

  • TnFlash profile image


    8 years ago from Tampa, Florida

    Great Hub! Medicine is making such big advances. 30 years ago when we had kids, no one had any idea about all of this stuff! Good Work!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Miata and Carolina, Thanks for your comments.

  • carolina muscle profile image

    carolina muscle 

    8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    No doubt about it!! Great work on this important hub!

  • prettydarkhorse profile image


    8 years ago from US

    good job Pam, thank you! Maita

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Darlene, We live in an information age that just wasn't there when we were younger. We did the best we could. Thanks for your comments.

  • Darlene Sabella profile image

    Darlene Sabella 

    8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    Wow, Excellent hub, I wish I knew then what I know now, you know how that story goes, so much we learn everyday. Thank you for sharing this outstand hub.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Nancy, Maybe it's time for another baby?? It's nice you had a positive experience as you can share that with others because the first week is the most difficult and many give up too soon. Thanks for your comments.

  • nancy_30 profile image


    8 years ago from Georgia

    Very well written hub. I breast fed both of my children until they were almost 18 months old. They're both really healthy and smart. My first daughter was speakiing really well by the time she was one and was saying her abc's and could count to ten by the time she was 18 months old. I always tell other women who ask me about my breastfeeding experience that if they can make it past the first week then you've got it made. I just weaned my youngest daughter a few months ago and I still miss it. It really was a great time to bond with her. Now it seems like she's always running around playing with her big sister and doesn't want to sit and let me just hold her.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Thanks so much for your comments. It sounds like the your sister and her husband are doing some good parenting.

  • Springboard profile image


    8 years ago from Wisconsin

    Very interesting article. I know breast feeding is an important thing to do if you can do sister breast fed all of her children and I think it shows in their health, personality, and overall character. They're kids, and kids will be kids, but they also happen to be great kids. Parenting has a lot to do with that too, I'm sure. But there's some truth in the science behind this breast feeding thing to be sure as well.

    BTW, might I add, my sister is pregnant with #4 as we speak.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hello, Thank you for your comment.

    Others have made such comments and many people have problems of various types and can't nurse. We can only do our best and there are good quality formulas for babies because not every can or wants to nurse.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    8 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for a well written hub. I would have wanted to breastfeed but I didn't have enough milk.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Katyzz, Quill & Aginwu, Thank you all for your comment.

  • anglnwu profile image


    8 years ago

    Wow, such a wealth of informaton on breast milk. Have always known that it's important for babies to have breast milk but this hub makes it compelling. Thanks.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Well written and indeed enlightening for us guys as well...what a special time for Mom and Baby...


  • katyzzz profile image


    8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    Well written article on a most important issue, Pamela. Well done, but still some mothers can't seem to manage to do it.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Tom, I know that can happen. I didn't go into what the mother should be eating as the hub would have been huge, and many woman are anemic after childbirth also. I think we know more today about nutrition for the nursing mom so hopefully most moms are successful.

  • Tom Whitworth profile image

    Tom Whitworth 

    8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


    I know my mother told me she was breast feeding me and I got anemia. It seemed like she didn't produce sufficient nutrients so I had to go on a formula with iron supplement.


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